New Baby Pizza Pasta by Carrie

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pizza-pasta
I realized as we had a new baby last year, bringing someone a hot casserole and crisp fresh salad was more than just a nice gesture, it was a lifeline, a sigh a relief that there is one less thing to worry about for the day. Our son was thankfully a great newborn, but it is amazing how you can get to the end of the day and realize that you haven’t eaten once, and forgot if you took a shower in the last few days! 

I will never underestimate bringing a meal to someone in a time of need again, and am quick to whip up a pan of enchiladas or pot of chili when I know someone is going through a life change, as I was so grateful for every meal that came through our door! 

It seems that my sisters and I are in the baby-growing business these last years, so we have started a tradition where a few weeks before the newest baby is set to arrive, Mom walks through the door with 10 bursting Lepp Farm Market bags, and the four of us start chopping, grating, boiling, and sauteing our way till the parents-to-be freezer is full! Now that we have gone through a few rounds of cook-days, there have been a few recipes that have been weaned out, and certain ones that have earned a permanent place on the roster! (Insider tip: we store all our favorite recipes on the “Freezer Meals” board of Lepp Farm Markets pinterest page! sshhhh….) This Pizza Pasta recipe by Michael Smith has earned a spot in every prep day we have! It is totally adaptable to suit everyone’s favorite pizza flavor, is both toddler and husband approved, super easy to put together, freezes and reheats amazingly well, and only dirties one dish! I have also brought this meal to many friends, and it always gets rave reviews! I have a good feeling we will be making this quite a few more times! 

 

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

1/2 box penne pasta
1 pound Lepp’s 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

Method

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 will 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.

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. You imagination is the limit!