Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe

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Who doesn’t love pizza? Well, you may love it even more once you’ve tried this Pizza Casserole, in which two Italian favorites—pizza and pasta—are fused for one momentous meal!

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe featured image above

Sometimes putting two delicious dishes together, despite each being amazing on their own, just does not work out as a combo. This is NOT one of those times.

Do you like pasta? Who doesn’t? What about pizza? I didn’t even need to ask, did I? So you’ll be excited to learn that a casserole that features both Italian staples is even greater than the sum of their parts. Don’t believe me? Read on. Then cook on.

In a way, we shouldn’t be surprised that pizza and pasta work so well together. Italians are known for their multi-course meals with pasta, salad, pizza, seafood, antipasti, etc., taking turns on the diner’s plate. All we’ve done with this recipe is overlap one course with another. Innovative? Yes, I suppose we are.

While the Penne forms the base of the casserole, the pizza is represented with mozzarella, pepperoni, and tomatoes. The ingredients are layered twice over for one hefty hunk of homemade hunger killer. Put another way, we’ve taken our recipe for the best homemade pizza ever and paired it with our Easy Baked Pasta. The only question is: Why didn’t we think of this sooner?!

How Many Varieties of Pasta Are There?

Let’s be clear: I’m not referring to the different shapes. I’m talking about what the actual pasta is made of. And of those, you have plenty of options, especially in the last 20 years as more and more consumers are looking for healthier options from the foods they buy on the regular. Here’s a chart you can use should you want to ditch the traditional pasta and go for something different.

Type of PenneCooking Time for Al Dente Texture
Regular Penne10-12 minutes
Whole Wheat Penne10-12 minutes
Multigrain Penne10-12 minutes
Gluten-Free PenneVaries (check package)
Vegetable-based Penne (e.g., spinach, tomato)Varies (check package)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Penne pasta
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. pepperoni
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • basil leaves, for garnish
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
Pizza Casserole Recipe ingredients

How to Make Pizza Casserole – The Steps

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and brown the ground beef on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 1

Step 2: Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir well to combine then simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 2

Step 3: Meanwhile, boil the Penne al dente according to the directions on the package.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 3

Step 4: Drain the pasta, then pour half of it into a baking dish.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 4

Step 5: Layer half of the meat sauce over the pasta and top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Lay half of the pepperoni on top, then add the remaining pasta, meat sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 5

Step 6: Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until bubbly and brown.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe step 6

Step 7: Remove the pizza pasta casserole from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and additional grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Top Tips For a Perfect Pizza Casserole

  • Don’t overcook the pasta. After it has been boiled, the pasta will then be cooked in the oven. Too much time in the water will make this casserole a combo of pizza and pasta mush.
  • Drain the noodles well before adding them to the casserole dish. The more moisture, the mushier they will become.
  • Apply a layer of olive oil or cooking spray to the casserole dish before adding ingredients to prevent sticking.
  • Set your oven to BROIL if you’re a fan of crusted edges and golden brown cheese.
  • Alternatively, stick to the recipe’s instructions and cover the casserole in aluminum to prevent the cheese and pepperoni from burning.
Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe featured image below

FAQs

Can I use whole-wheat pasta?

Sure. The taste will obviously change, but the cooking times should be consistent.

Can I use different pasta noodles?

Of course. I admit, I usually just use whichever short noodles I have on hand. I avoid long noodles though—linguine, spaghetti, etc—as they will make this dish too heavy (to lift and to eat).

Can I use fresh pasta?

Of course. Adjust the boiling time accordingly, as fresh pasta doesn’t take as long to soften up.

Are pizza sauce and pasta sauce the same thing?

Not exactly. Pizza sauce, because it needs to adhere to the bread, is usually thicker. Pasta sauce needs to cover the noodles’ nooks and crannies—something a thicker noodle can’t do. Pasta sauce is usually simmered, whereas pizza sauce is seldom cooked before being applied to the pizza. Lastly, I would say pizza sauce has more herbs and spices, whereas pasta sauce is milder so that the ingredients aren’t overshadowed. Keep in mind this recipe just uses crushed tomatoes (so, more akin to pasta sauce).

Can I use Alfredo sauce?

Sure, though alfredo sauce is heavier than crushed tomatoes, and much richer. Be careful you don’t use so much that you start to feel nauseated.

Any other variations you recommend?

Well, we ARE talking pizza here, so I would treat it as such and make a Meat Lovers (stick in some bacon, sausage, ham, or even chicken), Vegetarian (ditch the meat and pepperoni and add mushrooms, onions, and green peppers), Deluxe (pepperoni, green pepper, and mushroom), and MAYBE even a Hawaiian (ham, mushroom, and pineapple) but, not having tried that last one, I have no idea how it will pan out.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe featured image below

Serving Suggestions

Obviously, we need to load up on more Italian food, which is why I recommend doing up some Marinated Mozzarella as an appetizer. Then, I would serve as a side my Tomato, Basil & Blue Cheese Salad. For dessert, I would make one of my faves, which also happens to be Italian: my Zabaglione, a custard-cream mix served with strawberries (yes, like a trifle). Slice up some crusty bread, pour yourself a glass of wine, and you’re set!

How to Store Your Pizza Casserole

Let your casserole cool completely. Now, you have two options: you can either leave it in the casserole dish and simply put a lid on it or cover it with aluminum foil, OR you can divvy it up and store it in smaller airtight containers. I usually leave it in the dish if there’s a substantial amount left. If not, into the smaller containers it goes. You should be able to keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, though I would definitely store it in an airtight container first. To reheat, let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, either warm it up in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F.

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe featured image below

Easy Pizza Casserole Recipe

Who doesn't love pizza??? Well, you may love it even more once you've tried this Pizza Casserole, in which two Italian favorites—pizza and pasta—are fused for one momentous meal!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 333 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. Penne pasta
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. pepperoni
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • basil leaves for garnish
  • pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large skillet add the olive oil and brown the ground beef on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with garlic powder, dried oregano salt, and black pepper. Stir well to combine then simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Meanwhile, boil the Penne al dente according to the directions on the package.
  • Drain the pasta, then pour half of the pasta into a baking dish.
  • Layer half of the meat sauce over the pasta and top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Lay half of the pepperonis on top then add the remaining pasta, meat sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.
  • Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until bubbly and brown.
  • Remove the pizza pasta casserole from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and additional grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Apply a layer of olive oil or cooking spray to the casserole dish before adding ingredients to prevent sticking.
  • Set your oven to BROIL if you’re a fan of crusted edges and golden brown cheese.
  • Alternatively, cover the casserole in aluminum to prevent the cheese and pepperoni from burning.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 17gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 411mgPotassium: 348mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 271IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 2mg
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