Noticing a theme on these most recent recipe posts? I think I have posted more casserole-esque recipes in the past month than I have in the history of this blog. But when it comes to freezer-friendly, all-inclusive, make-ahead meals (which have been my MO for these last few weeks of pregnancy), you just can't beat these types of recipes.
This simple pasta bake was inspired by a recipe I saw recently on one of my favorite food blogs Iowa Girl Eats. Kristen's recipes are super approachable and I have been a longtime follower (since back in the day when she wasn't gluten free!), so when I saw a pizza pasta bake she made recently I knew that would be a perfect addition to my freezer full of dinners. This simple pasta dish starts with penne pasta in a spicy tomato sauce. I like to add a little dry oregano to it because I think it makes it taste a bit more like pizza. You can add whatever pizza toppings you like to this pasta, but I loaded mine up with diced pepperoni, sliced black olives, fresh bell peppers, and fresh spinach to make it a "complete" meal. Shredded mozzarella binds the ingredients together and the whole thing is topped with creamy melty provolone.
This pasta dish tastes like your favorite pizza, but you can make it easily at home and not call for delivery!
- 14.5 oz. dry penne pasta
- 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives, drained well
- 1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
- 3/4 cup spinach leaves, chopped
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 3 cups prepared arrabbiata sauce *Or you can use 3 cups of regular marinara sauce and stir in 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
- 8 slices provolone
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish (or a combination of smaller dishes) with cooking spray or olive oil.
Cook penne according to package directions until just al dente. Drain well.
In a large bowl, combine the drained pasta and the next 7 ingredients through oregano.
Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish(es). Evenly layer the top of the pasta mixture with provolone slices. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 15 minutes covered and then for an additional 10 minutes uncovered. Cheese should be golden and bubbly.
Editor's Note: Inspired by original recipe by Iowa Girl Eats.