Something about wagon wheel pasta makes me feel like I'm a kid again. Or, maybe it's the fact that the wagon wheels remind me of my 4th grade Oregon Trail project I did with my dad out in the garage. We--well, he--traced and cut little sideboards, a hitch for a yoke, and wagon wheels out of pieces of wood. Then, we fashioned a canvas roof for the wagon, got some plastic oxen, and my mom made little flour and sugar sacks out of scrap fabric. I remember sitting in the garage with my dad trying to put that wagon together, not doing a very good job but knowing that Dad'll fix it. I was either busy daydreaming about creating my next big rollerskating routine I would do in the garage to the Lion King soundtrack, or I was spinning around aimlessly on the bar stool while he put my school project together. And I'll bet I waited until just days--or even the night--before to tell him I needed help on this project. Gotta love childhood...right, Dad?! Anyways, back to the pasta. I threw this dish together quick one weeknight and found it to be satisfying. There are a few changes I will make next time and I've made sure to adjust the recipe below to match those changes. I also halved the recipe when I made it, but I did not note those changes below. Enjoy this hearty, yet simple, pasta dish!
Wheely Good Pepperoni Pasta
Source: Taste of Home Pasta
Yields: 6-8 servings
1 pound ground beef (I was even considering substituting hot dogs instead, maybe 5 hot dogs?)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or one tablespoon garlic from the jar
1-28 oz jar. spaghetti sauce
1-4oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1-3 1/2 ounce package sliced pepperoni
8 oz. uncooked wagon wheel pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded provolone cheese (I used shredded asiago instead because I couldn't find shredded provolone)
grated parmesan...the real stuff!
Preheat oven to 400. Boil the pasta only part of the way for just a few minutes so that there is still a bite to it; it shouldn't be mushy but it shouldn't be straight out of the box. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the beef, onion, and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, and pepperoni.
In a greased 9x13 baking dish, layer the ingredients as follows, and then repeat:
-half the meat mixture
-half the pasta
-half of the shredded mozz. and provolone or asiago
Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.
Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is bubbly and golden. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.