We had to get one last casserole in before winter ends, so I whipped up a batch of this comforting Pizza Casserole! A penne pasta base with marinara, topped with mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, onions and black olives.
I’m not going to lie and say this is a healthy recipe-it’s not! But I’m 8.5 months pregnant, I’m tired, and I just wanted a big ole’ bowl of comfort food to go with my Netflix show. 🙂 I will however give you some ideas below on how to ‘healthy this up’ at the bottom of the post!
To start, boil penne pasta and once it’s cooked, drain and mix in your favorite marinara sauce. Pro Tip:While the penne is boiling, I like to prep my other ingredients (chop veggies, sauté sausage/veggies, sautéing separately so you can layer though).
After the penne is cooked, mix it with your favorite marinara sauce (we’ll recommend our favorites at the end of this post!) and pour it into a casserole dish (we used a 9×13). After that, we will start to layer this, aka pizza-fy this casserole!
As mentioned, I recommend using the time the pasta is boiling to saute the sausage and the pepper/onion/mushroom mixture. Layer cheese, sausage, and then top it with onions/peppers/mushrooms, then pepperoni, black olives, and a smidgeon more cheese for looks.
Bake it for 15 minutes, serve and enjoy!
Now….let’s answer all of your pizza casserole questions. We’ll include some substitutions to ‘healthy’ it up, too.
- What other kind of pasta can I use?
- Whatever you have on hand will work. Even Spaghetti, Angel Hair, or Orzo would be delicious!
- Is there something lower carb than pasta I could use?
- Yes! Use steamed cauliflower in instead of pasta.
- What are some ideas to make this healthier overall?
- Half the pasta, double up the veggie content. Add more veggies if you desire; zucchini, eggplant, artichoke hearts, anything with ‘pizza flair’ would be delicious.
- Use turkey or chicken sausage (the recipe already calls for it).
- Use turkey pepperoni, or skip the pepperoni altogether.
- Use lower sodium marinara sauce. Trader Joes makes a great low sodium version.
- Use skim milk mozzarella.
- What kind of marinara do you use?
- I use Trader Joes Regular Marinara Sauce.
- How can I make this vegetarian?
- Leave out the meat! Add in extra vegetables to make up for it. You could use vegetarian sausage if you can find it.
- How long does this keep for?
- Leftovers are the best part of any casserole 🙂 This keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Can I make this ahead of time?
- Yes! But…be warned that the pasta will soak up the sauce if it sits for too long. Add about 3/4 cup extra to make up for ‘soakage’.
- Can I freeze leftovers?
- What other casserole recipes can you recommend?
Here’s to easy comfort food! Cheers! – Rachel
a delicious comfort casserole with all the taste of supreme pizza!
- 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 26 oz marinara sauce (we use 1 jar of Trader Joes Marinara Sauce. Add 1/2 cup extra if making ahead of time)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (divide into 1/2 cup portions)
- 1/2 lb italian sausage (we used Turkey sausage)
- 1/2 cup pepperoni (we used Turkey pepperoni)
- 1/4 cup canned black olives, sliced (equivalent to a 2.25 ounce can)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
- 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 cup mushrooms
Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.
Boil penne pasta according to directions. Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
While pasta is boiling, saute sausage according to package directions in a medium large sized skillet. Set aside in separate dish.
Once sausage is cooked and set aside, combine sauteed vegetable ingredients to skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. As this dish should resembly the flavors of pizza, be cautious not to overcook. Allow colors of vegetables to remain, along with a slight crunch.
Once pasta is fully cooked, drain, and toss with marinara sauce. Pour into 9x13 casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Layer 1/2 cup of cheese, sausage, vegetable mixture, and top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, pepperoni and olives.
Cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.