Pizza Pasta Recipe Quick and Easy

The Delightful Story of Pizza Pasta

After college, life takes on a different flavor, filled with new experiences, responsibilities, and a dash of nostalgia. For me, one such nostalgic dish is Pizza Pasta, a creation inspired by a quirky scene from the movie *The Jerk*, where Steve Martin’s character enjoys “pizza-in-a-cup.” This amusing concept sparked an idea that transformed into a beloved staple during my early adult years.

The Birth of Pizza Pasta

Just after college, I found myself sharing a place with Beau and his brother Sean. The notion of “pizza-in-a-cup” tickled us to no end, but it also got us thinking—why not make a pizza-like dish that’s hearty, delicious, and easy to prepare? We took all our favorite pizza toppings—pepperoni or sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, onions—and combined them with tomato sauce, cheese, and pasta. Thus, Pizza Pasta was born.

This dish was a lifesaver for three hungry, budget-conscious young adults. It was incredibly easy to make and stretched to feed us for days. In those days, I would double the recipe to ensure an abundance of food, making it a go-to for satisfying our ravenous appetites.

Rediscovering an Old Favorite

Years passed, and I moved on to more “sophisticated” meals, setting aside the humble Pizza Pasta. However, in a moment of culinary nostalgia, I decided to revive this dish. Despite being a full-fledged adult and a professor, I found myself and my husband delighting in the familiar flavors of our post-college years. It reminded me that some recipes are timeless, offering comfort and joy no matter how old you are.

The Versatile One-Pot Wonder

One of the greatest things about Pizza Pasta is its flexibility. You can tailor it to include your favorite pizza toppings (though I personally draw the line at pineapple). This recipe is designed as a one-pot meal, with the pasta cooking in its own sauce, making it perfect for both stovetop and Instant Pot preparation.

Quick and Easy Pizza Pasta Recipe

Pizza Pasta Recipe Quick and Easy


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (optional)
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper, large dice (optional)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage or pepperoni (optional; I use Field Roast vegan Italian sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or oregano
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • Crushed red pepper and black pepper to taste
  • 1 16-ounce package pasta (I like bow tie)
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 8 ounces Italian blend shredded cheese or a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan
  • 4-6 ounces canned sliced black olives (optional)

Instant Pot Instructions:

1. Saute garlic, onion, mushrooms, meat, and peppers in olive oil until golden.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese.
3. Seal the Instant Pot and set to 5 minutes on high pressure.
4. Quick release when finished cooking. If the sauce is too liquid, let stand for a few minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the excess liquid.
5. Stir in cheese and olives if using.

Stovetop Instructions:

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute garlic, onion, mushrooms, meat, and peppers in olive oil until golden.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese.
3. Simmer gently, covered, for approximately 20 minutes, stirring frequently until pasta is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed.
4. Stir in cheese, olives, and spinach if using.

Enjoying Pizza Pasta Today

Rediscovering Pizza Pasta was a delightful trip down memory lane. It’s a dish that embodies simplicity, flavor, and the power of food to evoke cherished memories. Whether you’re a college student, a busy professional, or someone just looking for a delicious one-pot meal, Pizza Pasta is a recipe worth revisiting. Enjoy it with your favorite toppings and savor the nostalgia and comfort it brings.

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