This recipe is very kid-friendly. It can be assembled earlier in the day, covered, then baked when you're ready. Or it's great to layer in a crockpot (directions at the bottom of this post) just before the kids get home from school or right before you head to church and have it piping hot in a few hours when you're ready to eat.
You can just use canned or jarred spaghetti sauce or you can make this dressed up canned sauce for a little extra flavor. And you can add mushrooms, olives, and a chopped green pepper too. I love how versatile this recipe is.
Here's what you'll need:
1 lb. hamburger OR sweet Italian sausage OR 1/2 lb. of each
2 T. dried chopped onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lg. can or jar spaghetti sauce
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, 1 chopped green pepper, all optional
1 (16 oz.) pkg. rigatoni pasta
1 C. pepperoni slices
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cook pasta according to package directions; set aside. While pasta is cooking, brown meat, onion, and garlic powder. When meat is cooked through, add spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, paste, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and mushrooms, olives, and pepper, if desired.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, sauce, and pepperoni. Place in a greased 9x13 inch pan.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Loosely cover with foil that's been sprayed with non-stick spray (to make your foil non-stick). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
You can also make this dish in the crockpot too! To do so, here's what you'll do:
Cook your pasta for the shortest time listed on the package.
Make your meat/sauce mixture.
Spray the crockpot well with non-stick spray.
Layer 1/2 the sauce, 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the pepperoni, and 1/2 the cheese.
Cook on Low for 2-3 hours.