The only thing better than the stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut was the cavatini. Served in a piping hot dish, it was everything you’ve ever dreamed of in Italian comfort food: cheese, sausage, cheese, noodles… and did we mention, cheese?
Fortunately, even though you can’t order cavatini anymore, you can whip it up yourself—and it’s (almost) as easy as tossing everything in a casserole dish and putting it in the oven. The next time you get that craving for something smothered in saucy, meaty, cheesy goodness, follow the copycat recipe below.
How to Make Cavatini
- 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound bulk Italian pork sausage
- 1-3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian diced tomatoes
- 1 jar (23-1/2 ounces) Italian sausage and garlic spaghetti sauce
- 1 jar (16 ounces) chunky mild salsa
- 1 package (8 ounces) sliced pepperoni, chopped
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
- 4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1-1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 jar (24 ounces) three-cheese spaghetti sauce
Step 1: Prep the Pasta
You’ve gotta boil the noodles before you put everything together—and just one box of pasta goes a long way in this recipe. Cook the penne according to the directions on the package, then drain. If you want to experiment with different noodles, browse this guide to pasta shapes from rotini to orecchiette.
Step 2: Make the Meat
Use the time while the pasta’s cooking to get your meat and veggie mixture ready. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, sausage, mushrooms, onion and green pepper over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Then drain.
Step 3: Mix It All Together
Add the drained pasta to the meat mixture. Stir in the tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa and pepperoni. Psst: You can also make your own sauce for the cavatini. Try this Italian sausage sauce recipe or this garlicky sauce.
Step 4: Assemble the Casseroles
Preheat your oven to 350°. Then divide half the pasta mixture between two greased 13×9-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Next, spread 3/4 cup of the three-cheese spaghetti sauce over each. Top it all with the remaining pasta mixture and three-cheese spaghetti sauce before sprinkling with the remaining cheeses.
Step 5: Bake ‘Til Bubbly
Cover the cavatini and bake until bubbly, about 25 minutes. Then uncover and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes longer.
Editor’s Tip: To turn this into a freezer-friendly dish, cover the unbaked casserole and freeze it for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and remove it about 30 minutes before baking. Bake the cavatini at 350°, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover it and bake another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Want more copycat pasta recipes? Here are 15 of our all-time favorites from some of your go-to restaurants.