4-Ingredient Dump and Bake Pizza Casserole
Family-friendly dinners don't get much easier than this 4-Ingredient Dump and Bake Pizza Casserole! There's no need to boil the pasta ahead of time, since all of the ingredients cook together in one dish!
Servings 8 people
- 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked elbow pasta
- 3 cups (about 25.5 ounces) marinara sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 (5 ounce) package mini pepperoni, divided (or substitute with regular or turkey pepperoni, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley or basil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In the prepared baking dish (or in a separate bowl), stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, about ¾ of the package of pepperoni, and salt. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove dish from oven, take off cover, and give the pasta a stir. At this point it should be almost done, but still a bit firm ("al dente").
Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and place remaining pepperoni slices on top of the cheese. Return the dish to the oven and bake, uncovered, for about 5-10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).
Garnish with optional grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, if desired
COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:
Can you freeze Pizza Casserole?
Yes, you can! It’s not my first choice; however, because I worry that the texture of the pasta gets a bit compromised as it sits in the liquid. If you do choose to prep ahead and freeze the casserole, just know that the pasta might be a bit softer when it’s done baking.
I recommend freezing this pizza casserole before baking.
How to bake a frozen Pizza Casserole:
Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight, bring to room temperature on the counter for about 20 minutes, and then bake according to the recipe instructions.
To bake a frozen casserole straight from the freezer, you will need to increase the baking time significantly. Start with baking the dish (covered) for 1 hour at 425 degrees F, but stir the casserole occasionally and check pasta for tenderness as it cooks. The final cooking time will vary slightly, depending on the type of dish that you are using.
- This pizza casserole recipe is obviously made with pepperoni; however, you can feel free to add your favorite pizza toppings to the dish. Nice options include 1 lb. of cooked ground beef, ground turkey, or ground Italian sausage.
- Stir in some veggies! If your family likes mushrooms, bell peppers, or olives, stir them into the dish as well! If you’re using a larger vegetable with a longer cooking time (like broccoli), you may want to steam the vegetables first before adding to the dish. For something small like frozen peas, you can just add them (still frozen) straight to the baking dish towards the end of the cooking time.
- Cooking for a smaller family? I like to cut the ingredients in half and prepare the casserole in an 8-inch square pan. You can also use the full amount of ingredients, but divide the mixture evenly between two 8-inch pans. Bake one now, and freeze the other casserole for a later date!
- Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or chopped, fresh herbs, if desired.
Serving: 1/8 of the casserole | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 1180mg | Potassium: 490mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 6.5mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 2mg