Best Pizza Casserole Recipe – How to Make Easy Pizza Casserole


PHOTO: LUCY SCHAEFFER; FOOD STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

From the realms of cheesy pizza and bubbling baked pasta comes a new family favorite: pizza casserole. Loaded with sausage, veggies, and plenty of cheese, this easy weeknight dinner has all of the cheesy, tomato-filled goodness of our favorite take-out pizza, neatly packaged in a 13″-by-9″ pan.

Our top tip? Leave the pasta slightly undercooked when you boil it. The noodles should be al dente enough that you can actually see a white ring of uncooked pasta when you cut into one. Undercooking the pasta will allow it to absorb more of the tomato sauce (and its flavor!) when you bake it and also prevent it from overcooking and becoming a mushy mess.

Read on for more tips on this comforting casserole. Looking for more pizza? Check out these pizza egg rolls—they’re another brilliant mash-up that we can’t stop eating.

What is pizza casserole?

Pizza casserole is pasta tossed with pizza sauce, sausage, mushrooms, and peppers, layered with mozzarella cheese, and baked in a casserole dish. We love using cavatappi pasta (or its cousin,cellentani) in this casserole, because its corkscrew shape is great for holding all the sausage and veggies in the sauce. If you can’t find it, try rotini, fusilli, or rigatoni.

Can I change up the filling?

Everyone has their favorite pizza toppings. In this recipe, we went for the works, but feel free to customize your casserole fillings to whatever you (or your family!) prefer. Not a fan of peppers? Leave them out. Don’t eat pork? Sub in chicken sausage or ground beef. Make it your own, just as you would if you were ordering a pizza from your local take-out spot.

Can I prep this ahead of time?

You sure can. You can cook the sausage, mushrooms, and sauce ahead of time, mix them together, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the casserole. You can also assemble the entire casserole and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. Assembled and unbaked, it should stay good in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Can I freeze this?

Absolutely! We recommend assembling it according to the directions (minus the top layer of mozzarella and pepperoni) and then making sure it’s completely cooled down before wrapping it in plastic wrap and freezing. The frozen casserole should stay good in your freezer for at least a month. When you’re ready to eat, thaw the casserole completely in your refrigerator (overnight is best) and bake as directed.

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

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Yields:

6 – 8


servings

Prep Time:

0

hours

20

mins

Total Time:

1

hour

20

mins

4 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for pan

2 tbsp.

plus 2 tsp. kosher salt divided

1 lb.

Italian sausage, casings removed

8 oz.

cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1


small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)

2


cloves garlic, finely chopped

3


(8-oz.) cans of tomato sauce

1


(14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes

1/4 tsp.

crushed red pepper flakes

1/2


green bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

3 c.

shredded mozzarella, divided

1/3 c.

sliced ​​pepperoni (about 2 oz.)

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  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13″-by-9″ glass baking dish with oil.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes (pasta should still be slightly undercooked in the center). drain paste; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a medium bowl, leaving as much fat in skillet as possible.
  4. In the same skillet over medium heat, combine mushrooms and 1 tablespoon oil; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with sausage.
  5. In same skillet over medium heat, cook onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Remove 2 cups sauce and reserve. Fold bell peppers and cooked sausage, mushrooms, and reserved pasta into remaining sauce. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  6. Pour half of pasta mixture into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour reserved 2 cups sauce over.
  7. Cover pan with foil and bake until hot and bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella, then pepperoni, and continue to bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browned, 15 to 20 minutes more.

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pizza casserole

PHOTO: LUCY SCHAEFFER; FOOD STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

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