When I was in college, one of my roommates introduced me to the glory that is a “Pepperoni Pasta Bake”.
We were always on a quest to figure out how to make meals that could feed 4 for less than $15. And I have to say, we were pretty inventive! But more often than not, our meals revolved around pasta, and this simple dish was our favorite.
It’s all of the goodness of pepperoni “pizza” flavors, wrapped into a delicious and uber-simple pasta bake. We would always just use pasta, pepperoni, Mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce, which was a fabulous start. But there are endless variations. For a “lighter” version, you could of course sub in some turkey pepperoni, whole wheat pasta and part-skim Mozzarella. Or for a more well-balanced version, you could easily throw in lots of your favorite veggies (I like using mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and broccoli). But when I am occasionally craving a more purist version of the college classic, I at minimum add in some sauteed garlic, onions and some extra seasonings to kick things up a tiny notch, but to still stay true to our memories.
However you make it, this classic can still be made for under $15, and I guarantee that it will be a crowd-pleaser. :)
This “Pepperoni Pasta Bake” is simple, inexpensive, and always a crowd-pleaser!
1 lb. dry pasta of your choice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
half a white onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups marinara sauce
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
about 30 pepperonis, sliced into halves
optional toppings: chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley, shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook pasta in generously-salted water until al dente according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until it is cooked and translucent. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute more, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain the water and return the pasta back to the pot. Stir in the garlic/onion mixture, the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, Mozzarella (reserve a small handful of the cheese for the topping), Parmesan and pepperonis. Mix until well-blended.
Transfer the pasta to a greased baking dish, and then sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella cheese on top. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown around the edges.
this looks like pure comfort food heaven!!! great idea for a weeknight meal. thanks for sharing! xx
I love pasta bake! Perfect recipe for a cold winter :D
Yes, please! Total comfort food right here. I just marked a baked pasta with a pepperoni layer that I saw in a magazine a few months back. Thank you for the reminder! Gotta try it!
I love that this can be made with just less than $10! And you have my favorite ingredients in this! I actually have some pepperoni to use up so this here is absolutely perfect!
This looks so tasty…love the pepperonis!
I love pasta bakes but never think to use pepperoni. Paul would love this!
pasta is my go-to when i’m looking for something cheap and quick. it’s like a blank canvas – you can literally create ANYTHING starting with it. This looks SO comforting Ali – I could eat forkful after forkful. I secretly LOVE pepperoni – i eat it with sliced cheese and crackers and make little sandwiches as a midnight snack. i’ve done that since i was little!! And yes – this dish DOES look like a crowd pleaser! Perfect for a football sunday party :)
Oh my word that looks AMAZING!!! =D
This looks INCREDIBLE!!!
this looks like the most amazing pasta dish, ever. i love that it is like a pizza in pasta form. i’m dying for this!
What a fantastic dish. Pizza in a bowl – what a great idea. I’d love to have you share a pasta dish with Presto Pasta Nights before it retires forever. It’s a weekly pasta roundup that I’ve been doing for almost six years and it’s time to call it a day. You can check the details here – www.prestopastanights.com
I wish I’d been this creative when I was at university – it looks so utterly delicious!
This sounds absolutely amazing! Love how versatile it is too! Definitely making this soon!
I made this for dinner tonight. Added some green bell pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Turned out delicious!
I made this tonight and even though I made some changes this was a WONDERFUL, Hubby’s two thumbs up, dinner! Thank you so much for posting.
This looks amazing!!!! Even better that its an affordable recipe! Definitely gotta try this tonight!! Thank you for this! I’m a huge pepperoni fan…
Great recipe. I’m always looking for great tasting “value” meals for my little family of four. Can’t wait to try this tonight! :-)
This seems like an extra long time to cook….shouldn’t 20-25 minutes be enough time for this to bake, with 5 minutes extra for cheese to melt??
Thanks for sharing!!!! Making this tonight for dinner! :)
I’m try9ng this today.
Need recipes for 20 as I help feed the homeless folks with our church each Sunday. Just want to make sure I’m getting it right! This looks yummy!
This is one of my favorite pasta dishes. I make it all the time! Thank you so much for sharing!
been Italian cooking for many years the secret is boil macaroni for 5 minutes then add to baking dish and bake for 25 minutes and it will never be over cooked also make an easy lasagna use no boil macaroni bake for only 30 minutes let set for 5mins and your good to go totally awesome
Sounds delish! How well do you think this could be converted for a crockpot? Due to the heat index I don’t use my oven during the Summer. Thank you for sharing!
I haven’t tried it in a crockpot. But I imagine that if you cooked it on high for 45-60 minutes or so, that might be a close equivalent in the crockpot. I would just keep a close eye on it. :)
This is really good and it was definitely a crowd pleaser! The only thing I would change is add more salt and dice the pepperoni slices smaller. Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you for sharing Razan, we’re glad they were a hit! :)
Love this recipie. I make it often.
Thanks LuJean, we’re so happy to hear that! :)
This turned out wonderfully, thanks for the great recipe! I will be doing this again mid-week.
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Emily!
Good recipe! I advise for the oven I be at 400 but that’s jus me.
Omg this pepperoni casserole is awesome! And I didn’t even have all of what it called for. I didn’t want tomatoes so I used extra pasta sauce a cup of beef broth and added regular cheese to make the full 2 cups. I absolutely will make it again. I used penne.
Made as directed. Delicious. Even my mother in law liked it. ;-p
My wife works an early shift at her job, so Friday evening dinner is up to me… I tried this recipe and she thought it was one of the best recipes I’ve made. It was excellent and I will be making this again in the future when I need some delicious comfort food.
Thanks for posting,
I will 100% be making this and then putting my opinion of it in the comments but I think it will be amazing. My family and I are pasta lovers!
I leaned into the pizza theme and added mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach. Turned out super yummy! I think it would be even better with ground meat of some kind, be it sausage, beef, or turkey. Similar to a supreme pizza in pasta form! Except olives… I am not a fan of those. XD But thank you for the recipe inspiration! My pizza-loving husband was happy!