Pizza Casserole Deluxe

Kid approved, easy family dinner! Use garden fresh bell peppers and garlic!

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 mushrooms
1 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup pepperoni slices, chopped
1 (16-oz.) package rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
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
1 package of pepperoni slices, Canadian bacon, and/or 1/2-1 lb. browned and crumbled sausage or hamburger

Directions

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this recipe, want to know more about this or other related interesting topics, please like and share this article. Be sure to like us, so you don’t miss anything, we are Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens, on Facebook and other social media. We are a local producer of farm fresh fruits and vegetables and members of the American Poultry Association, licensed by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture as Poultry Dealers and Brokers, and a proud member of the Georgia Grown program, a division of the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture. We also breed, sell and ship poultry, pet pigs, bearded irises and much more. We have an 80 acre working farm, putting great emphasis on all natural gardening and livestock management practices. An 1840s general store is situated on our property, and serves as our on-site farmer’s market. Conveniently located off of Interstate 75 near the Johnstonville Rd exit (#193).  We are six miles west, located in Barnesville, Lamar County, Georgia.

Special thanks to food .com for helpful information, as well as contributions from J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia in preparation of this article.

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