Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nostalgic Pasta

I am not sure why, but this recipe makes me feel about 20 years younger. Maybe it's the spiral pasta, the fact that it has pepperoni in it, or maybe it's just something that reminds me of what a child would like to eat.

I had a cooking dilemma today. I wanted to make lasagna, but wasn't sure if I wanted to put forth that much effort cooking. I thought pizza sounded good, but I wanted to cook and homemade pizza just doesn't taste as good to me. So, to compromise with my split personality and indecisiveness, I found this recipe. Tada! Pizza Pasta! Best of both worlds. Pasta and some of the same ingredients of lasagna, and some of the same ingredients as pizza.

God bless the Crock Pot cookbook. I can always find something yummy in there. I have several crock pot recipe books, and The New Creative Crock Pot Cookbook is wonderful. I have about 15 recipes dog-eared ready to use whenever I need to make something new. This was one of the dog-eared recipes.

I had to buy the ingredients at the grocery store because I didn't have many of them on-hand. That's okay. Honestly, I thought I was going to spend a lot more money. I bought everything from scratch with the exception of the tomatoes and the onion. My $13 total even included a package of brown and serve breadsticks! Although not the cheapest meal I have ever made, I thought $13 was fairly reasonable, also considering the amount of food this makes.

I doctored the recipe slightly from the ingredients. I will post the original recipe and call out my additions/substitutions.

Here is everything ready to go in the crockpot.

This was delicious! I am so glad I added the pizza sauce even though the recipe didn't call for it. It added some moisture to the pasta, otherwise, it would have been very dry. Also, don't omit the Parmesan. It gives the pasta a special touch also. Sometimes, it's the simple things that make dishes really tasty.


Pizza Pasta
from: The New Creative Crock Pot Cookbook

4 cups corkscrew pasta, cook al dente and drained
15 slices salami, sliced into thin strips (I prefer pepperoni, so that is what I used. I also used more than 15 pieces. I think I used probably 20-25 cut into chunks)
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I seeded mine so they wouldn't be too watery)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can (4 oz) sliced black olives, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt (I didn't use any because of the salt from the pepperoni and the pizza sauce)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (I used more. Probably about 1.5 cups total)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
pizza sauce (the recipe does not call for this. I added this to make the pasta more like pizza. I used probably 1 cup of sauce. Just enough to coat all the ingredients, but not to make it too soupy)

*Combine all ingredients, except for the Parmesan cheese, in a crock pot or slow cooker. Mix thoroughly. Cover; cook on low 4-6 hours (or high 2-3 hours). Top with the Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on high for another 15 minutes.

And what better to eat with Pizza Pasta then pizza dough flavored breadsticks! I know, too many carbs. I don't care. I just doctored some store bought breadsticks. I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with Italian seasoning. Yummy!