My mom is the oldest of six children, and that makes me the oldest of 14 grandchildren. That’s a big old group of people to get together and feed for family events and holidays. But when we do get together, it’s always fun and always memorable! I remember when I was growing up, each Christmas time we’d all travel and come together at my grandparents home in central PA. One of the meals you could always count on was Cavatini. It’s a simple casserole filled with pasta, ground beef, pepperoni, and lots of mozzarella. And lucky you, I’m sharing the recipe below!
Why Cavatini? It’s easy to prepare, delicious and can be easily be doubled or tripled to feed the masses. And kids love it, which was kind of the point with all those hungry grandkids to feed! In fact, Cavatini still makes an appearance at our big family gatherings and is now getting the great-grandkids hooked on it’s cheesy goodness.
Though I love to stick to the classic recipe, (always takes me right back to eating in my grandma’s kitchen, at the kids table with my cousins) you could easily make tweaks and adjustments to suit your family’s tastes. Switch out some of the ingredients, scale the amount up or down, use your own homemade sauce or just grab a jar at the store. It’s so easy to make it your own!
Tip: Make this recipe your own by switching out the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes:
- Use whole wheat pasta instead of regular
- Swap the ground beef for ground turkey
- Add or leave out the veggies
Like any pasta dish, Cavatini goes great with salad, some garlic bread, maybe a glass of wine. And also like most pasta dishes, this will just get better when you reheat the leftovers. So don’t be intimidated by making a big pan even if you have a smaller family to feed. It also makes a perfect potluck dish because it’s super easy to transport.
- ⅓ lb. rotini
- ⅓ lb. rigatoni
- ⅓ lb. elbows
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- ½ lb. sliced pepperoni
- 8 oz. shredded mozzerella cheese, divided
- 32 oz. spaghetti sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the pasta, according to package directions, and drain. In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown the green pepper, onion, mushrooms and ground beef; drain any fat.
- In a 9 x 13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, combine the pasta and the ground beef mixture. Add the sauce and mix together until combined. Fold in the pepperoni and half of the mozzerella cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through and cheese melted.