Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grams Made Cavatini

Last night Grams hosted Bunco. My Bunco club is so much fun. We've been playing together for many years with occasional changes when someone moves away and someone new joins. Originally, we all lived in the same neighborhood, but over the years many of us have moved to different neighborhoods, but still in Calallen. Hosting includes serving dinner, snacks, and dessert. Adult beverages are optional.

I almost always know exactly what I want to make, but not this year. I just felt uninspired. So, I sat down at my computer and browsed, and browsed, and browsed. I just couldn't decide. I knew I wanted to make a casserole or something in the crock pot. I looked at soups, chili, enchiladas, tacos ... none of them appealed to me. Then I saw a reference to a dish that Pizza Hut used to serve that I loved, Cavatini. Cavatini is a pasta casserole with pizza flavors. Yum! I started with this recipe and tweaked it to make it closer to the way I remember the original.

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I was very pleased with the way it came out. The recipe calls for a 9" x 12" casserole. I used two CorningWare skillet/casserole dishes. I have my mother's original Cornflower pattern and the one I got for a wedding gift back in 1975 which is Spice of Life pattern. They are about 9" square. I have recently rediscovered my CorningWare. If you have a ceramic cooktop on your stove, I highly recommend it. It seems to heat up much faster than my traditional metal pans, it doesn't darken or stain the ceramic top, and it's much easier to clean anything sticky out of it. Just soak it for a few minutes and wipe it away.


Cavatini  

1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 package sliced pepperoni
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can sliced black olives, drained
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (24 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (I used HEB Puttanesca Sauce)
8 ounces penne rigate pasta
8 ounces rotini pasta
8 ounces cavatappi pasta (or macaroni)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup grated Italian blend cheese

In a large saucepan, brown ground beef with onions. Add green pepper, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, tomato paste, and spaghetti sauce. Cover, and simmer for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

Mix together pasta and 2 cups mozzarella. Layer in a 9x13 inch baking dish, pasta, sauce, then top with remaining mozzarella and Italian blend cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

(You can make this recipe using almost any short, macaroni-style pasta.)

I served this with a simple salad and garlic bread. For dessert, we had old fashioned pineapple upside down cake. It was delicious and a big hit with the girls. Some of them went back for seconds.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds yummy.

    I must admit that I thought Cavatini was a trendy cocktail. I was all "Go Grams! Whoot!"

    I don't drink alcohol anymore, so I kinda live vicariously through my friends. Heh.

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  2. I'm gonna try this on my boys. Thanks for sharing

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  3. Sounds fabulous Vicki! When I make Cavatini, I use basically the same recipe as you, but I add canadian bacon also. It's always a hit. :)

    BTW, my Mom has the same Corning Ware pattern as your wedding gift. I love it too. I think I need to look for some to add to my kitchen.

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  4. We play cards one day a week. I also struggle with indecision about what to serve when I host. I will definitely try this. Sounds delicious! And easy.

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  5. Sound delish! I've saved it in my Recipe Bookmarks.

    ~Anna

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  6. Definitely going to try this one out! Thanks!

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