Pasta with a simple tomato sauce is one of the all time great flavor combos, but there’s more than one way to make a tomato sauce. Here’s a quick way to toss a few flavors together, let the oven do the work and wind up with pasta that tastes like pizza!

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

1/2 box penne pasta
1 pound spicy pepperoni, chopped in 1 inch pieces
4 pints (or so) Cherry Tomatoes
2 large onions cut in 8
1 head garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons or so dried oregano
4 ounces cream cheese
1-2 sprinkles salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
3 cups or so mozzarella cheese, shredded

Procedure

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).Toss pepperoni, tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano and olive oil in a large bowl. Turn into a 9- X 13-inch (3.5L) ovenproof casserole or baking dish. After 30 minutes or so stir the works once or twice then keep an eye on things. Bake until the tomatoes soften and the pepperoni and onion lightly brown, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set to broil.

Meanwhile cook your pasta in lots of boiling salted water. Drain it well but do not rinse or you’ll drain away the surface starch that helps the sauce cling to it. When the roast tomato sauce has finished cooking toss it with the pasta and stir in the cream cheese. Top with the mozzarella. Broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes or so. Your hearty pizza pasta is ready! Call in the gang, serve and share.

Chef Michael’s Kitchen

© Chef Michael Smith

Variation

Freestyle Twist: It’s as easy to twist this recipe as it is to top a pizza to suit your crowd. Any tomato variety will work and feel free to toss in some black olives, artichoke hearts or assorted mushrooms.