Earlier this week, I posted about a pretty decent casserole made with penne, Italian sausage, veggies, a nice bit of sauce, some fresh mozz, a bit of shaved Parmesan, and freshly sliced deli pepperoni. And it was good.
how much better, I posited, if I had packed the casserole into individual crocks?
It was, as it turned out, better.
As you can see here, the original casserole recipe makes for a large and hearty dish; easily enough to feed a hungry crowd, and so perfect for company. Since I’d made it for a quick weeknight dinner for just the two of us, we had leftovers.
So I decided to test my theory, and pack the leftovers into a couple of the cool, new French onion soup crocks Rich had found for me a few weeks back.
To begin, heat your oven to 350º and line a baking pan with foil.
Lightly brush your soup crocks, or any individual size baking container, with olive oil and place on the baking pan.
If you’re starting from fresh, follow this recipe to make the penne pasta pizza casserrole – right up to the bit about turning it into the 13×9 pan.
Place a bit of the penne mixture in the bottom of your oiled crock, then top with some sliced fresh mozzarella and sliced pepperoni.
Add more of the penne mixture to the casserole, then top it all off with more fresh mozz, shaved Parmesan, or, I took a hint from my French onion soup crocks and added sliced Emmentaler cheese on top.
Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the cheese is nice and bubbly on top.
Of course, in my original post, I mentioned serving this casserole with some good red wine and a bit of crusty bread. Well, as it turned out, I had some leftover pepperoni bread in the fridge that needed to be used, so I sliced a half dozen pieces, added them to the baking pan next to the casseroles after their 20 minute bake, and popped it all back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
This is the way to go.
I topped mine with some Aleppo pepper, a few sliced peperoncini, and just a dash of my new hot sauce obsession, Tiger sauce.
Add a nice, big Zin, or mebbe a Malbec, and I’d say you have yourself a fine, and very company worthy, dinner.