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Pizza Casserole Deluxe

Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

 

Hands-on time 40 mins
Total time 1 hr, 15 mins
Yield

Makes 10 servings

Win over all of the kids and grown-ups in your house with this new instant classic that feeds more than two everything pizzas. Fresh and packaged mozzarella give it the best melty consistency.

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-lb.) package ground mild Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (26-oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 medium-size red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni slices, chopped
  • 1 (16-oz.) package rigatoni pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 to 10 pepperoni slices

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sausage and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain sausage mixture on paper towels, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir marinara sauce and 1/2 tsp. salt into sausage mixture.

  2. Sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in hot drippings 5 minutes or until tender; stir in olives and chopped pepperoni. Reserve 1/4 cup onion mixture.

  3. Prepare pasta according to package directions in a large Dutch oven.

  4. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in fresh mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour sauce over pasta in Dutch oven, stirring to coat. Stir in onion mixture.

  5. Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish, and top with sausage mixture, packaged mozzarella cheese, reserved 1/4 cup onion mixture, and pepperoni slices.

  6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.