There's one surefire way to lift your family's spirits when one or more of you happen to be having a bad day: announce that it's pizza night. I know it's simple to dial up your local pizzeria and order a pie, but you won't believe how easy -- and even more satisfying -- it is to create this delicious and, might I add beautiful, pepperoni pizza casserole at home. You get the added bonus of living in a house that smells like love and fresh-based goodness and -- did I mention? -- you won't even have to tinker with gooey, annoying dough. Bring it on!

This recipe is brought to you from Closet Cooking, and it should be noted that, although it makes use of few ingredients, you should become comfortable swapping turkey sausage for ham or adding extra toppings or whatever you feel you need to do to make this casserole a family favorite. 

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

  • 12 ounces pasta (ziti, rigatoni, or other short pastas work well)
  • 1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 4 ounces pepperoni
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (optional)

Directions:

Cook the pasta as directed on package but stop 3 minutes early, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large saucepan over medium heat, about 10 minutes.

Mix in the sauce with the sausage and three-quarters of the olives and pepperoni and set aside.

Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan and set aside.

Place half of the pasta in the bottom of a large baking dish, top with half of the sauce, followed by half of the cheese mixture, and repeat with another layer of each, finally topping with the remaining olives, pepperoni, and oregano.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven covered in foil until bubbling at the sides, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes more.