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Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta… now say that 5 times!

Can you believe it’s a new year? I seriously can’t believe 2021 is finally here and we can all exhale a deep breath and know that a new chapter is beginning for everyone. By new chapter, I mean a new year and that my friends, is definitely something to look forward to after the dreadful and depressing year we just experienced. I’m not saying that 2021 is staring out any smoother as the world is still combating the global pandemic; however, I do feel hopeful and motivated. I feel inspired to start new projects and have a better attitude. 2020 was hard for a lot of us for so many different reasons and I’m beyond ready for new beginnings and blessings.

So, let’s make a promise to ourselves that we will do better in 2021. I know there are so many things we can’t help but at the same time, we can make more efforts as a community to be loving, kind, respectful and accepting. What always helps me is writing down 5 goals or things I want to work on/work towards in the new year. Fortunately, I met 3/5 goals I set for 2020: reading at least 4 books, saving x amount of money in the savings, and having more date nights with my husband (although majority were in the house due to quarantine). I have faith in 2021 and I have faith in all of us.

The other day my friend and I were texting about what to prepare food-wise for a very small, friendly get-together. Small being 6 people. I love quick and easy dinners that can be prepared on a whim because let’s be honest, who wants to slave in a kitchen all day and then clean and then get ready to mingle with friends until the wee hours of the morning. Sounds exhausting! Fortunately, this recipe is definitely one of those quick one pot meals you can throw together in 30 minutes or less. Another bonus is that it’s kid-friendly!! A perfect and simple meal the entire family will love.

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

A quick and easy one pot meal that will have you and the entire family happy and full!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Cutting Board & Knife
  • Large Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Microplane
  • 9×12" Baking Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 links Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 1 small Yellow Onion small dice
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 cup Vodka
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 lb Rigatoni
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Balls
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup Pepperoni Slices
  • Fresh Basil and/or Oregano Sprigs garnish
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large, deep sauteuse pan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the Italian sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle the sausage with a pinch of kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper.
  • Once the sausage is just about cooked, add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano. Cook over medium heat until the onion is tender and the spices have "blossomed", about 5-6 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with the vodka. Allow the vodka to reduce by half.
  • Then, add the marinara sauce, chicken stock and uncooked rigatoni noodles. Ensure the noodles are just about covered with liquid, adding more chicken stock if necessary.
  • Cook over medium heat until the noodles are al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Taste the dish, seasoning with additional salt & pepper prior to baking.
  • Transfer everything into an oil-greased baking dish. Top with mozzarella balls, pepperoni slices and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover the dish with foil and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the foil and switch to broiler setting. Keeping a close eye on the pasta (it can burn quickly with broiler on!) cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh basil or oregano and extra Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Happy 2021 to all!

XX,

JJ

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