This is a very kid-friendly meal that we really enjoyed for dinner! My son said it looked like a deep dish pepperoni pizza when it first came out of the oven. I loved the combination of pasta, meat sauce, veggies and the crispy pepperoni. Super easy to throw together and very delicious and a nice twist on normal spaghetti! Goes great with some garlic bread, a salad, and / or some green beans for a filling and comforting dinner.
I liked how frying up the pepperoni actually pulled a lot of the grease out of them before they made their way into the dish, so there weren't pockets of "pepperoni grease" puddling on top of the cheese. This is very easy to tweak to your personal preferences - I added the onion and mushrooms, and an extra 1/2 can of sauce all of which I thought were really good additions. I also added the extra seasonings for the ground beef which I usually think it needs in these types of dishes - feel free to change things up and make it your own! I think some rough chopped bacon and some sauteed green pepper would work well in this dish too.
Pepperoni Pizza Spaghetti Casserole slightly adapted from She Turned Her Dreams Into Plans
12 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles (I used linguine)
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, diced small
1 4-oz can mushrooms, drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 ounces pepperoni, sliced in half
1 - 1 1/2 (26-oz) jar (or can) of pasta sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- Cook spaghetti in boiling water according to the directions on the package. Drain and place the noodles in a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
- Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet for 10-15 minutes (or until beef is cooked through, and onions are tender). Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Adjust seasonings to taste. Stir in drained mushrooms. Drain grease and pour meat mixture over cooked noodles in the 9x13 baking dish.
- Wipe skillet out with a paper towel. Place pepperonis in the pan (separate out the pieces so they can cook evenly) and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until crisp (about 4-5 minutes).
- Pour the pasta sauce over the noodles - use a spatula to gently stir a little and make sure the noodles are well coated - add sauce to your personal tastes (if you like your casserole/pasta dishes saucy you will probably want to use 1 1/2 cans instead of just 1). Place about half the pepperoni slices over the pasta sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top. Place the remaining pepperoni slices on top of the cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (remove foil for the last 10 minutes) or until cheese is completely melted and starting to brown.