09 April 2010

Pizza Casserole Recipe

In my family, when we find a recipe that we like, we mark it with "good," or "like," or "great." If it's really good, it might get underlined or get an exclamation point. I'm not sure if it's Grandma or Ganno (her mother) who came up with this high-tech system, but it made more sense when I received an email a few weeks ago from my mother with a subject line of "Good."

The email was a recipe for Pizza Casserole. During a phone call later that night, I thanked her for the recipe and told her that it looked really good. She said she thought so, too, but it really wasn't. Uh... what?

Me: So, then why did you say that it IS good?
Mom: Because I thought YOU would think it's good.
Me: Well, why didn't you like it?
Mom: Because it was bland and it didn't really have a taste.
Me: ...
Me (after I recover): Mom? Am I particularly KNOWN for tasting things, saying "Oh! This has no taste and is really bland! I LOVE it!"?
Mom: Well.. this just seemed like something you would like.
Me: Okay. Well... is there something you recommend I do to this to make it LESS bland?
Mom: No. I think you'll like it the way it is.
Me: ...

So, without further ado, I present:

Pizza Casserole

2 c spiral pasta
1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion
15 oz pizza sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t dried oregano
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
12-15 slices pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350ยบ.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat. Drain.

Combine pasta with pizza sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, garlic salt, and dried oregano. Add beef mixture. Stir until well blended.

Place half of pasta mixture in 3-quart casserole dish. Top with half of mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layers.

Top with pepperoni.

Bake 25-30 minutes.

Variations: I added a LOT of onions (sorry Cristi and Brook), and I added ground garlic. I subbed in turkey pepperoni since I don't eat pork. I used WAY more than 12-15 slices of pepperoni, but I don't know if turkey pepperoni is smaller than regular pepperoni or if maybe my casserole dish is just bigger. But to cover the surface area, I used about 25 pepperoni slices. I also added in mushrooms for bulk and to make this a little more diet friendly.

Next time I make this, I think I will also add spinach. I will also use the pepperoni for the bottom layer, not just the top layer.

I think that without the extra garlic that I put in, this could have been bland, so I definitely recommend adding in whatever you like to give it some zest.


  1. I make a variation of this that's a WW recipe. You use biscuits in place of the pasta though. I love it. You toss in as many veggies as you can stand. And I love the turkey pepperoni!

  2. It seems like A. Garlic is absolutely required. ( Of course I go through a bag of garlic in a week - unless we go out /get take out a lot that week) So I would definitely add several cloves of crushed or chopped garlic. B. It seems that if you want it to taste great you should add generous amounts of your favorite pizza toppings. (wonder why my pots and pans and pants often don't fit?) So I would definitely put in mushrooms, and peppers, lots of peppers.

    If I ever feel better I'll give this a try!