Everything-Pizza Pasta Bake


One of my favorite all-time comfort meals has to be pizza with everything on it. Now, I didn’t always like it this way, and for sure I don’t always like this filling version of pizza. But it definitely has a solid place in my heart. I don’t know, I think it’s something about the blend of the spiciness of the meats and the freshness of the veggies all smothered in cheese.

Ok, so this recipe won’t be going on your Trying-to-Get-in-Shape-for-the-New-Year Diet, but it certainly is a great make-ahead meal that you can twist to suit your family’s tastes. Also, it’s a lot easier than trying to master making fresh pizza dough in a flash.

Shopping List:

3 links of mild or spicy, fresh Italian sausage

1/2 cup of sliced pepperoni, cut in half

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 green pepper, diced

4-ounce can of sliced olives

1 (16-ounce) box of your favorite dry pasta (as a side note, the kinds that have nooks and ridges are best to allow the sauce to cling well)

4 ounces cream cheese, block style

2 cups of your favorite Marinara sauce (click here for mine)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

5 fresh basil leaves

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

1.Start the pot of water to prepare your favorite pasta noodle shape. Follow the directions on your package of noodles once your water is boiling. See my suggestions above for types to use here.

2. In a large saute pan on medium heat, squeeze the sausage out of the casing and cook it until it is no longer pink. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Just about this time your water might be boiling, so go ahead and pop those noodles in and set a timer.

3. Remove the sausage from the pan, but continue to leave the pan on medium heat and add the mushrooms and green peppers to the pan. Cook these about 5 minutes or until the peppers are beginning to soften, but have not totally changed color.

4. In a separate small sauce pan over medium heat, stir the marinara and the cream cheese until they make a nice creamy pink sauce. Then take it off the heat.

5. Now, add the pasta and all the toppings into the large pot you used for the noodles, and stir in the sauce. Make sure to cover the noodles well and distribute the sauce.

6. In a buttered, or sprayed with cooking spray, 9 x 13-inch pan spoon in all the mixed up pasta. Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

NOTE: If you make this ahead and store it in the fridge, just make sure to take it out of fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes before you need to put it in the oven. When you’ve got it ready to put it in the oven to rewarm, spray some foil with cooking spray and cover the dish. Warm it until the center is warm throughout, about 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

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