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Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

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Pepperoni Pizza Casserole is a delightful fusion of classic Italian pizza flavors and the comforting richness of a baked casserole. Imagine a deep dish layered with flavors, textures, and aromas that invoke the essence of a traditional pepperoni pizza but with the heartiness of a casserole. The base typically consists of tender pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, cooked to just the right degree of al dente. This pasta foundation absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients, creating a satisfying texture.

Atop the pasta, a generous amount of rich, tangy tomato sauce is spread, infused with herbs like oregano, basil, and garlic, giving it that quintessential pizza sauce taste. The sauce acts as a binding agent, melding the layers together while keeping the dish moist and flavorful.

The star of the dish, pepperoni, comes next. These thinly sliced pieces of spicy, slightly smoky cured meat are layered throughout the casserole, providing a burst of flavor and a delightful contrast to the other ingredients. The pepperoni crisps up slightly in the baking process, adding a subtle crunch and richness.

Cheese plays a crucial role in this dish. A blend of mozzarella and Parmesan is typically used, creating a gooey, stretchy layer that envelops the other components in a creamy, cheesy embrace. The mozzarella offers a mild, milky flavor and a fantastic melt, while the Parmesan adds a slightly nutty, salty depth.

Additional ingredients can include sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions, adding a hint of sweetness and a crunchy texture contrast. Some versions might even include a layer of ricotta cheese, enhancing the creaminess and adding a subtle richness.

Baked in the oven, the casserole’s top becomes beautifully golden and bubbly, with cheese melting and lightly browning at the edges. The aroma of baked cheese, pepperoni, and tomato sauce fills the air, reminiscent of a pizzeria. The casserole is hearty, satisfying, and perfect for a family dinner, potluck, or a comforting meal on a cozy night. It’s a dish that combines the best of two worlds – the flavors of a pepperoni pizza and the homely comfort of a baked pasta casserole.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground meat
1 16 oz. box bow tie pasta
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ounces sliced pepperoni
1 (26 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 10 oz. can diced Italian style tomatoes
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Italian cheese blend
Any other pizza toppings, you can add like black olives, sausage, onions, green peppers.

Directions:

Boil water and salt for pasta. Once it starts boiling, add pasta. Brown meat in a separate frying pan. When pasta is cooked, drain.
In a lightly greased 9×13×3 inch pan, pour a small amount of sauce to lightly coat bottom. Add a layer of pasta and add 1/2 of sauce, can of tomatoes, garlic powder, and oregano.
On top of pasta, layer the ground meat, then add a layer of pepperonis. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, and Italian cheese. And layer more pepperoni. Top with bacon bits and anything else you like just like a pizza!
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

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