All of us have those times when we need a great dish that can really feed a crowd and please everyone’s taste buds. Pasta chock full of vibrant veggies, tasty meats, gooey cheeses bubbly and baked to perfection! This dish started out being a simple baked ziti-esque dish… sauce, pasta, cheese. My older daughter, Hania and I kept adding in different ingredients as time went on. She pointed out that it was like pasta with all the pizza toppings… and so Pizza Pasta was born!! This dish is versatile enough for you to add your own spin also cause the potential ingredients are just never-ending. So give it a try…
**…Your Mouth Will Thank You!
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 c. red wine
1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, roughly chopped
1 c. zucchini, roughly chopped
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 lb. tri-color rotini
1-1.5 lb hot or sweet italian sausage
2 c. diced pepperoni
1 c. ricotta cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 c. Italian 4 cheese blend, grated
*Make The Sauce: Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, wine, carrots, parsley, basil, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour, uncovered. Stir frequently.
*Add the zucchini and mushrooms; cook until thickened, about 30 minutes longer.
*Next, cook the pasta according to the package directions.
*While the pasta cooks, remove the sausage from the casing. Cook the sausage breaking apart until browned.
*In a large pot, combine the pasta, pepperoni, sausage and 2 cups sauce.
*In a glass casserole dish, place 1/2 a cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish and spread around.
*Scoop in a layer of the pasta mixture. Pour about a half cup of pasta sauce over. Spoon small dollops of ricotta over pasta and then sprinkle with half the grated cheeses.
*Top with the remaining pasta mixture. Again, pour about a half cup of pasta sauce over. Spoon small dollops of ricotta over pasta and then sprinkle with the remaining grated cheeses.
*Cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes more or until top is lightly browned.