Friday, October 5, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole 2

I'm in a dilemma. It's nothing tragic, it's just that I'm finding myself without enough time to make all the recipes I want to make.

My folders for soups, stews, casseroles and everything holiday are bursting at the seams and I want to reach into every folder and make every dish. I really do.

So where do I start? The soups are calling my name, there are so many I need to make, and the stews, lordy, there are dozens of those too. Casseroles, forget about it, just to many to even think about, so what do I do? I further tempt myself by going on Pinterest and seeing more recipes I want to make.

This one got me. When I saw this recipe for Pizza Casserole on a blog called For Mamas I knew it would be something that my boys would eat right up.

Who doesn't like pizza?

There has to be a few people out there that don't right? I personally don't know of any, but I'm sure they exist. I also know that somewhere on this earth there is someone who doesn't like cookies. I can't even begin to think about that, or someone who doesn't like bacon? I shutter. Nutella - I can't speak. Come on now.

For the most part lasagna and various forms there of are some of the most beloved foods on this big blue marble don't ya think?

I tweaked this a little to make it my own. I added in more pepperoni then the recipe originally called for and I prepped it a but different (see notes). I used medium shells cause I knew that all the sauce and cheese would get stuck in all those little crevices and be heavenly.

I was right.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole 1

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Adapted from a recipe at For Mamas Blog
1 pound of pasta (I used medium shells)
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pepperoni slices *See note below
Large container of Ricotta cheese **See note below

Cook the onions in the olive oil until just translucent. Add in the hamburger and cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat.

Boil your noodles in well salted water and cook until al dente. Rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with sauce. Add half the noodles, half the meat, half of the ricotta and half the sauce. I just dotted the sauce all over and then used a spoon to spread it out a little. Layer on a generous amount of sliced pepperoni. Top with half the of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers. Cover the top with the pepperoni slices.

Now cover with foil (spray the bottom of your foil with cooking spray so it won’t stick to the pepperoni) and bake at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before digging in.

I was afraid the pepperoni would be too greasy in this dish so this is what I did. I put a single layer of pepperoni on three layers of paper towel folded in half and microwaved them for 20 seconds. When they came out of the microwave I patted the excess grease off with another paper towel. I stacked them up and sliced them in thirds. I thought this would make it easier than biting into a whole pepperoni slice. I made 3 batches of pepperoni in total.

**Note: When I use ricotta in most dishes, I usually add 1 to 2 eggs, depending on the size of the container I’m using. For this I used 1 egg, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and ¼ cup grated Parmesan. I used ¾ of the large container of ricotta.
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