We have a new favorite pasta dish in this house! I know I said recently that I was cutting back on carb consumption when I posted my Chicken Parm with Veggie “Pasta” recipe, but this Pepperoni Pizza Pasta recipe is totally worth the extra carbs.
Hey, I don’t make it every night! It’s totally fine to be naughty sometimes! And I use whole-wheat pasta, so it’s not quite as bad.
Anyway, this recipe sounded a little weird to me when I originally saw it on Gimme Some Oven, but I love pepperoni on my pizza, so I just had to try it. I put my own spin on it, and it ended up being a big hit. The boyfriend really liked it (and he can be picky sometimes), and no complaints from me. I even ate it cold the next day for lunch. Yum!
To make this Pepperoni Pizza Pasta, you need: dried pasta (I like shells), olive oil, diced onion, garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, marinara sauce, salsa, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni slices.
Start by boiling water for the pasta, and while that’s going, add your diced onion, garlic, and dried spices to a pan over medium-high heat with some extra virgin olive oil. Keep an eye on it – you don’t want the garlic to burn!
I used some crushed garlic because that’s what I had in the fridge at the time, but you could dice up some fresh garlic or use diced garlic from a jar if you want.
Cook until the onions are translucent, and while that’s going, slice your pepperoni. Yes, you can buy the pre-sliced version if you want, but if that’s the case, you might need to cut the slices in half or quarters. I like getting the stick of pepperoni, which is a little thinner, but I can control the thickness of the slices so it’s a little chunkier.
Add the pepperonis to the party happening in the pan with the onions. Originally, the recipe called for them to be added to the mixture to the end, just before popping the entire pasta bake into the oven, but I like to fry ’em up a little so the meat gets a little crispy.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the pasta and drain when it is just done. It should be a little more to the al dente side of things.
As soon as the edges of the pepperoni are crispy and the pasta is ready, add both to a casserole baking dish with the sauce and salsa. Now, you may think that salsa is a weird choice, and you’re right, the original recipe called for diced tomatoes. But I LOVE substituting salsa for diced tomatoes, just like I do with my awesome spicy chili recipe. You can control the heat level to your family’s liking and you get some added veggies in there!
But hey, if you don’t have salsa in the house, just used diced tomatoes and sprinkle with some crushed red pepper flakes to kick up the heat if you like a little spice. I’ve made this recipe that way too and it turns out fine.
Also thrown 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and a cup of shredded mozzarella into the mix, because…hello? CHEESE! Stir everything until well combined, and sprinkle with another handful of shredded cheese on top.
Now, you can do all the mixing in a separate bowl if you want it to be perty. But you know what I say? In this household, ain’t nobody got time for that! I just do it right in the baking dish.
Cover and pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes so the cheese gets nice and bubbly.
Here’s the printable:
- 1 box (1 lb.) dried pasta
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small diced onion
- 3-4 cloves diced galic
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 30-40 slices of pepperoni
- 1 jar (24 oz) of marinara sauce
- 1 jar salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes (14-16 oz)
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare pasta in boiling water until al dente.
- Cook garlic, onion, and dried oregano and basil in extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Slice pepperonis and cut slices in half. Add to pan with onion/garlic mixture. Cook until onions are translucent and pepperoni is crispy on edges.
- Drain pasta and pour into large baking dish.
- Add mixture from stove, as well as the sauce, salsa/tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir until combined.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
- Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.