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Sometimes the best recipes are ones you don’t even think you will like! Years ago, my best friend gave me a recipe for cavatini. I really didn’t know what that was, except that they used to serve a similar dish at a nationally known pizza chain. I also discovered that my husband LOVED it.
It isn’t a hard dish to make, but for some reason, I rarely have the right ingredients on hand. Honestly, I rarely have all the right ingredients on hand for anything unless I plan for it!!
It was during one of those unplanned recipe moments that I came up with Not Quite Cavatini. I actually thought this was very good and that says a lot coming from me, as I don’t particularly love anything with a “marinara” sauce. My husband, on the other hand, loves marinara-type sauces and he liked it so much that he declared that I “should find a way to put this recipe on Pinterest”!!!! (That’s high praise because my Pinterest usage gets a lot of head-shaking and eye-rolling around here.) So in the spirit of sharing, here is my recipe for Not Quite Cavatini. Hope you all enjoy…
Not Quite Cavatini
1 box elbow macaroni
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
Pepperoni, approximately 20 slices; chopped
2 Tablespoons salted, sweet cream butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 medium cloves garlic; minced
1/2 block of cream cheese (I had an 8 oz block. Use what you have!)
1 5 oz. container shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning + 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook macaroni according to box directions until tender.
- While pasta is cooking, put one can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 cup water, 1/2 can tomato paste, 1 T ketchup, 2 tsp Italian season, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt in pot and bring to low boil. Turn down heat and let simmer while the meat is cooking.
- In a separate pan, melt butter. Cook onions in butter until they start to brown (very light), add garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add hamburger meat. While meat is cooking, add 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1 tsp garlic powder. Cook until hamburger is no longer pink. Drain grease and add meat/onions to noodles.
- Add sauce to noodle/meat mixture. Add cream cheese. Stir until melted. Add 1 oz. Parmesan and stir.
- Pour mixture into 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle rest of Parmesan on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (I did about 18), until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling slightly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese—it will melt fairly quickly.
*This makes a large amount. We fed five people and had plenty of leftovers!
NOTE: Normally, I would use rotini or penne or some other really interestingly shaped pasta. For some reason, I had five boxes of elbow macaroni in the pantry and thought I should use it up!!!!!!
This is definitely a hearty dish. Serve it with some garlic bread and a side salad for a complete meal.
Does your family have a favorite pasta recipe? I’d love for you to share it!