Italian Pasta Casserole

Here’s a tasty recipe with a spicy kick for you to enjoy.

Italian Pasta Casserole

  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta
  • one-half pound lean ground beef
  • one-half pound Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage. If you buy it in links, remove the casings so you can crumble the sausage.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • one-third cup tomato paste
  • one-fourth cup brown sugar*
  • three-fourths teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • one-half teaspoon chili powder
  • one-fourth teaspoon dried oregano
  • one-eighth teaspoon salt
  • one-eighth teaspoon garlic powder
  • one-eighth teaspoon dried thyme
  • one-eighth teaspoon pepper
  • 2 oz. sliced turkey pepperoni
  • one cup shredded mozzarella cheese

*Healthy Option: unrefined sugar (Sucanat or Rapadura)

Directions: Cook the pasta according to the package. Meanwhile, crumble the beef and sausage into a large skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain off any fat. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Drain pasta. Stir in the meat mixture and pepperoni. Transfer half of pasta mixture to a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Pour the rest of the pasta mixture over cheese and top with the remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with a tossed green salad and garlic toast. Enjoy!

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