5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pasta Pizza

January 20, 2023
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Photo by Margot Mustich
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes One 11 ½ x 17-inch tray
Author Notes

I came up with this dish one day when my daughter was little as an alternative to making pizza with a dough crust. It was an instant hit, and is still one of our grown-up girls' favorite dinners. The classic version, described here, is like a regular cheese pizza, only with a thin layer of cooked pasta as a base. I make variations on this theme, sometimes adding ricotta cheese, spinach pesto, sausage, olives, or anchovies. Other times I dispense with the tomato sauce, opting for a “white” pizza with a few different cheeses. Feel free to use any toppings you like. What’s nice about this is that you can put it together quickly and stick it in the refrigerator up to a day in advance. Then all you have to do is bake it and serve.

Oh, and by the way, pasta pizza is not just for kids. One Sunday evening many years ago, we had another family over for an informal buffet dinner. I made roast Cornish game hens, vegetables, a big salad, and 2 different pasta pizzas (mostly for the kids). The octogenarian grandparents in attendance were every bit as enthusiastic about the pasta pizzas as their grandchildren were! —Margot Mustich

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound dried penne or spaghetti
  • kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 cups (or one 26-ounce jar) of your favorite tomato sauce
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool slightly, and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add 2 cups of the tomato sauce and toss well to coat the pasta evenly. Add the additional cup of sauce if you like and toss again.
  3. Brush the bottom and sides of a half sheet pan liberally with the olive oil.
  4. Pour the pasta onto the baking sheet and spread it out more or less evenly. Top with the grated mozzarella and any other toppings you decide to use. [If making the pasta pizza ahead of time, cover loosely with wax paper or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Take the pasta pizza out an hour before baking to bring it to room temperature.]
  5. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  6. Bake in the top third of the oven until the cheese turns a nice golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  7. Allow the pasta pizza to cool on a rack for 5 minutes or so before cutting and serving.

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