I highly recommend this Pizza Pasta Bake if you are stuck with what to make for dinner. It has all the delicious elements of a pepperoni pizza except in a pasta dish. It’s super cheesy and takes very little prep time.
An Easy Twist on Baked Pasta
This is not your typical pasta meal. It is made with penne, ooey gooey mozzarella, spicy pepperoni, and flavorful veggies. So, basically pasta with your favorite pizza toppings in a casserole. Who knew it would taste so good? Plus, there’s no need to make homemade sauce here which can save time if you are looking for a quick meal to prepare for your family.
My kids will always eat pizza. Pepperoni or plain cheese are their absolute favorites. We used to buy frozen pizza a lot but switched it up and made it with fresh pizza dough from the grocery store. They love the taste so much more, especially the pizza sauce. We also get to control the amount of cheese and pepperoni we add (which is usually a lot). To switch up our dinner menu, we tried out this Pizza Pasta Bake since it has all of the flavors they know and love, and it was a hit. Even though I was skeptical about the mushrooms and olives, they didn’t mind at all! Be sure to also try our Crockpot Pizza Casserole Recipe for another easy dinner.
What You’ll Need to Make the Pizza Pasta Bake
- Mild Italian sausage – Remove the casings before cooking.
- Pepperoni – We used turkey pepperoni, but any kind will work.
- Pasta – We used penne pasta with this recipe but any short pasta like rigatoni or rotini pasta will work.
- Olive oil – This is used when cooking your sausage and vegetables on the stovetop.
- Vegetables – You’ll use onion, white mushrooms and green bell pepper.
- Black olives – You can get these slices in a can, just remember to drain before use.
- Marinara sauce – Any brand spaghetti sauce will do, or I highly recommend making our homemade marinara sauce recipe.
- Cheese – You’ll use shredded mozzarella.
- Parsley – Fresh chopped parsley is a great garnish but optional.
- Salt and Pepper – Add to taste.
How to Make Pizza Pasta Bake
- Get prepped. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and prep your 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the pasta. Boil salted water in a large pot for your pasta and cook it according to the package directions.
- Cook the veggies. In a large skillet, heat to medium heat and add olive oil. Cook the onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper until they are just tender. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Brown the sausage. Next is the sausage. Add this to your pan and break it up with a spoon while it’s cooking. It should take around 5-7 minutes to be fully cooked through.
- Add olives. Turn off the heat and stir in the black olives.
- Mix it all up. In your baking dish, add your cooked pasta, sausage and veggie mixture, and marinara sauce. Stir gently to combine.
- Add cheese and pepperoni. Top the bake with the mozzarella and the pepperoni slices.
- Bake. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and bubble. At this point, you are melting the cheese and heating the pasta bake through.
- Time to eat. Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese if you desire and enjoy with your favorite salad!
Substitutions and Variations
- Vegetarian: Want to skip the meat? Replace the sausage and pepperoni with more of your favorite vegetables. Some that we enjoy with this recipe are zucchini and spinach.
- Meat lovers: Omit the veggies and add ham, bacon, ground beef, or a combination! Just be sure that the meat is fully cooked before adding it to the bake.
- Italian sausage: We use mild but if you are looking to turn up the heat, you can swap it for hot Italian sausage!
- Cheese: For a slightly different flavor, replace some of the mozzarella cheese with parmesan. It adds a nice, sharp bite.
- Pasta: If you don’t have any penne, no worries. Rotini, ziti, rigatoni and other short kinds of pasta make great substitutions. Any gluten-free pasta will work as well.
- Pepperoni: Classic or turkey will work!
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
You can prepare this Pizza Pasta Bake the day before and store it in the refrigerator. Follow all of the steps except preheating the oven and baking. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until dinner time. Be sure to pull it out and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
More Pasta Bake Recipes
Pizza Pasta Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 8 ounces white mushrooms sliced
- 1 green bell pepper cored, seeded and diced
- 1 small can of sliced black olives drained
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup pepperoni
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley optional
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook penne according to package directions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the meat and vegetable mixture.
- Add the onion, mushrooms and bell pepper to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the sausage to the pan. Cook, breaking apart with a spoon, until meat is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir the olives into the sausage mixture.
- Drain the penne pasta and pour it into a 9″x13″ pan that’s been coated with cooking spray.
- Add the sausage mixture and marinara sauce to the pan and toss gently to coat the pasta.
- Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the cheese and arrange pepperoni over the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and just starting to brown.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.