Weeknight Shorts: Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

Having pizza delivered after a long day is a bit of a treat and I admit I'm a fan of a couple places nearby, but by the time my family has picked what we wanted and made the order, it might be an hour or so before we see a pizza, especially when we're not the only ones with this idea. So when I'm looking for a quick pizza-inspired dinner, I actually grab a box of pasta and get a fantastic pizza pasta on the table in a half hour and save the pizza delivery for a time when time isn't running so short.

You can, of course, pick and choose a lot about this recipe. Use different pasta, sauces, cheese, and "toppings" to make it your own. Don't skip the time in the oven though - that really gives you a lot of your pizza flavor at the end and gives you time to put together any sides or just pour a beer and enjoy a bit of it before dinner.

I like making a big 'ol salad to have with this dish, though a bit of garlic bread to soak up any extra sauce would also be nice. Perhaps this might be a good time to, as my husband likes to say, embrace the power of and!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 9 oz. orzo pasta
  • 2 ½ c. chicken broth
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 ½ c. tomato sauce
  • 1 oz. grated Parmesan
  • 6.5 oz. grated mozzarella
  • 3.5 oz. thin slices pepperoni

Mince the garlic and finely chop the onion.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and toast for 1 minute. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add the tomato sauce and stir well.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more chicken broth or water if needed.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F. Top the pasta with the grated cheeses and pepperoni. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden browned on top. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes