Chef Folse's Pizza Casserole Deluxe

Prep Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Yields: 8 −10 Servings


1 pound ground mild Italian sausage

1 (16-ounce) package rigatoni pasta

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

½ cup diced red onions

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

¼ cup diced green bell pepper

¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper

½ (8-ounce) package sliced baby portabella mushrooms

1 cup sliced black olives

½ cup pepperoni slices, chopped

nonstick cooking spray

3 tbsps butter

3 tbsps all-purpose flour

3 cups half-and-half

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

8 −10 pepperoni slices


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Place pasta in large mixing bowl and set aside. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage and garlic 5–7 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink, stirring often. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in pan. Transfer sausage mixture to a medium bowl then stir in marinara sauce and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside. In the same skillet with drippings over medium-high heat, sauté onions, bell peppers and mushrooms 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in olives and chopped pepperoni, mixing well. Set aside. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in half and half then cook 7–10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour cheese sauce over pasta then add vegetable mixture, reserving ¼ cup vegetable mixture. Stir together to coat pasta well. Transfer pasta to prepared baking dish and top with sausage mixture, package shredded mozzarella, reserved ¼ cup vegetable mixture and pepperoni slices. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese in melted and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.