Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Cavatini

July 21, 2012Teresa

Cavatini has been a family staple recipe since we first married. A lot of people have eaten this main dish from my kitchen over the years. We have served it to company, made it as an entrée for youth camps, and given it away for meals to new moms.

This is our all-time easiest and favorite recipe. It only uses a handful of ingredients but it is rich on taste and super kid-friendly. This is my go-to dish when I need to take a meal to someone without advanced notice–or I get unexpected company that shows up at my door. Everyone loves it. I usually double the recipe so it makes a lot. It’s just fabulous comfort food. Serve it with a salad, garlic bread and brownies and you’re all set.

I use ground beef, pepperoni, pre-made spaghetti sauce, rotini noodles, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. That’s it. The recipe is inspired from a dish that used to be served at the Pizza Hut salad bars during the 70s and 80s. But I really didn’t have a recipe.

You can add onions, mushrooms, peppers & garlic if you like, or use spaghetti sauce that already has it. You can omit the ground beef and use spaghetti sauce with ground meat or Italian sausage — or skip it entirely. But I really don’t recommend cutting out the pepperoni because that’s what gives this casserole its zip. If you want more kick, add 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper. If you want more seasoning, add 1 tsp. each of oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic salt.

I initially posted this recipe in July 2012. The pictures were of a poor quality so I’ve updated them (March 2014) so you can get a better idea of what this dish actually looks like. If you’re looking for a wonderful Italian main dish that’s super easy to make, economical and kid-friendly, then I highly recommend Cavatini. You won’t be disappointed.

Well, I’ve updated the pictures again, circa July 2017. This time I made this amazing main dish for our Friday night care group. I substituted gluten free pasta by using Ronzoni’s gluten free rotini noodles. I don’t think anyone could tell the difference! It’s always a big hit whenever I serve it.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Cavatini has always been one of our favorite main dish meals. My kids used to love having this for dinner when they were growing up.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Cavatini has lots of savory ground beef and pepperoni in spaghetti sauce with noodles and cheese galore!

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

I normally use rotini noodles, but I’ve also used farfelle noodles (bow-ties), penne, ziti or any other kind of noodle I have on hand. They all work quite well.

Here’s what I did:

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

I used these ingredients. I also added a partial jar of leftover spaghetti sauce for another recipe to make the full 48-ounces for a double batch recipe. I had already browned ground beef. I use 93%- 96% lean. Drain if you need to. 

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Boil and cook your noodles. I substituted gluten free rotini for regular rotini. (Gluten free noodles are slightly more fragile than regular noodles so take care not to overcook them. It’s better to cook them al dente rather than all the way through.) Drain. 

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Add cooked ground beef and spaghetti sauce. 

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Add pepperoni. I removed mine straight from the freezer so there are some ice crystals on the pepperoni.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Stir ingredients to combine.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Spray a 9×13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Pour Cavatini mixture into prepared dish.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Since I was out of straight parmesan cheese I substituted a six-cheese Italian blend. Cover with foil (or the noodles will dry out). 

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Bake until bubbly–about 30 minutes depending on how much you make and the size of your casserole dish.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Return to oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese melts. Don’t let the casserole stay in the oven so long that the cheese burns on top!

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

 Cavatini is an amazingly kid-friendly meal. Whenever I have to prepare food for teenagers, this is usually on the menu!

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Every bite of Cavatini will thrill your taste buds. You can use ANY flavor of spaghetti sauce you like. 

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

You will love the way this casserole tastes!

Here’s the recipe.

CAVATINI

(My concoction, but inspired by a dish Pizza Hut used to serve at their salad bars in the 70s and 80s)

Print Recipe
Cavatini BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Fantastic Italian pasta dish that's quick, easy, economical and kid-friendly. This one uses ground beef, pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, rotini, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. This is great for company or potlucks.
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.
Instructions
  1. Mix cooked beef, pepperoni, noodles and spaghetti sauce.
  2. Place in a 8x12” baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes at 350°, or until mixture is bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and heat an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  7. Allow casserole to sit out 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: You can add ½ chopped green pepper, ½ medium onion, diced, and a 4-oz. can sliced, drained mushrooms if you desire more of that flavor. Or you can buy spaghetti sauces that have those ingredients.

NOTE: Be careful to watch the cheese so it doesn’t dry out or burn on top. About 5 minutes is really all the mozzarella cheese needs to melt sufficiently.

NOTE: I usually double this recipe and spread it into a deep dish lasagna-type baking dish.

NOTE: Many store-bought spaghetti sauce products are down to 24-ounces now. You need a full 32-ounces of spaghetti sauce to make this recipe as the noodles absorb a lot of spaghetti sauce.

NOTE: Gluten free noodles are slightly more fragile than regular noodles so take care not to overcook them. It's better to cook them al dente rather than all the way through.

© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

 

[b]Cavatini[/b]
Recipe Type: Pasta Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Teresa Ambra – my own creation, but inspired by a dish [url href=”http://www.pizzahut.com/pasta.html” target=”_blank” title=”pizza hut”]Pizza Hut[/url] used to serve at their salad bars, circa 1970s, 1980s
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Fantastic Italian pasta dish that’s quick, easy, economical and kid-friendly. This one uses ground beef, pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, rotini, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. This is great for company or potlucks.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 32-oz. jars Prego spaghetti sauce
  • 8-oz. box Rotini noodles, cooked and drained
  • 3-oz. pkg. pepperoni
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 8-oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Mix cooked beef, pepperoni, noodles and spaghetti sauce.
  2. Place in a 9×13” baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake about 30-45 minutes at 350°, or until mixture is bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and heat an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Notes
You can add ½ chopped green pepper, ½ medium onion, diced, and a 4-oz. can sliced, drained mushrooms if you desire more of that flavor. Or you can buy spaghetti sauces that have those ingredients.[br][br]Be careful to watch the cheese so it doesn’t dry out or burn on top. About 5 minutes is really all the mozzarella cheese needs to melt sufficiently.
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

The pepperoni gives this Italian dish a nice kick of flavor.

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

We have served this simple main dish to hundreds of people over the years and without fail, everyone has raved over it!

Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.

Cavatini is the real deal! Your family will love it. 

You may also enjoy these delicious recipes!

Supreme Pizza Casserole

Supreme Pizza Casserole | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this fantastic #pasta #casserole is filled with #fettucini, #mozzarella, #parmesan & #pepperoni. It's like eating #pizza in #pasta form! Totally delicious & kid friendly. #beef

Baked Pizza Pasta

Baked Pizza Pasta | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Pepperoni Penne Casserole

Pepperoni Penne Casserole | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen
Print Recipe
Cavatini BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Fantastic Italian pasta dish that's quick, easy, economical and kid-friendly. This one uses ground beef, pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, rotini, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. This is great for company or potlucks.
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cavatini | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this kid-friendly #pasta #casserole includes spaghetti sauce #pepperoni, #mozzarella cheese & #glutenfree rotini noodles. So easy & delicious.
Instructions
  1. Mix cooked beef, pepperoni, noodles and spaghetti sauce.
  2. Place in a 8x12” baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes at 350°, or until mixture is bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and heat an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  7. Allow casserole to sit out 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: You can add ½ chopped green pepper, ½ medium onion, diced, and a 4-oz. can sliced, drained mushrooms if you desire more of that flavor. Or you can buy spaghetti sauces that have those ingredients.

NOTE: Be careful to watch the cheese so it doesn’t dry out or burn on top. About 5 minutes is really all the mozzarella cheese needs to melt sufficiently.

NOTE: I usually double this recipe and spread it into a deep dish lasagna-type baking dish.

NOTE: Many store-bought spaghetti sauce products are down to 24-ounces now. You need a full 32-ounces of spaghetti sauce to make this recipe as the noodles absorb a lot of spaghetti sauce.

NOTE: Gluten free noodles are slightly more fragile than regular noodles so take care not to overcook them. It's better to cook them al dente rather than all the way through.

© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

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