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Meat Lover’s Pizza Hot Dish

I make this hearty casserole for the men who help us out during harvest time. Every year they say it’s the best, hands down. Throw in any pizza toppings your family likes—Canadian bacon, black olives and green peppers are some of our picks. —Brook Bothun, Canby, Minnesota
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 3-1/4 hours
  • Makes
    10 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 4 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pizza sauce
  • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  • In a large skillet, cook beef, sausage, onion and mushrooms over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up meat into crumbles, 10-12 minutes; drain.
  • Transfer meat mixture to a greased 6-qt. slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce, pizza sauce, pasta, water, tomato paste, pepperoni and Italian seasoning. Cook, covered, on low until pasta is tender, 3-4 hours.
  • Stir thoroughly; mix in 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Cook, covered, until cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes longer.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/3 cups: 653 calories, 35g fat (14g saturated fat), 99mg cholesterol, 1482mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 6g fiber), 36g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Stwenter
    Jul 19, 2020

    To start - I agree with the other reviews that the noodles should be added at a later time. However, my three boys (ages 11, 7 and 6) kept asking for the leftovers of this recipe. It is tasty! I did make some adjustments. I added more moisture in the form of a little more water. Next time I'm going to add a little more water and some more pizza sauce as well because I like it to be 'saucy' and not as chunky. I served it with a coating of parmesan cheese and then shredded mozzarella. I probably added more of the Italian seasonings than asked for (I tend to season generously), but I will be making this again!

  • Mark
    Feb 8, 2019

    I cut the recipe in half and made this as a skillet dish. I made the pasta separately. Brown the ground beef and sausage together then drain. Med heat add onions, bell pepper, banana peppers, pepperoni and simmer till peppers are soft. Add perfectly cooked pasta and cheeses and turn off heat. Ring dinner bell. By the time you can get everything to the table it will be perfect.

  • SouthernMaster
    Sep 21, 2015

    I haven't tried this dish but wanted to throw in my two cents worth. Whenever a slow cooker recipe calls for pasta, I usually throw it in for the last 30 minutes & it turns out fine.

  • cindiak
    Apr 10, 2014

    I agree this would probably be good as a baked dish instead of using a crockpot. Noodles are notoriously difficult to cook in a crockpot. My noodles also ended up mushy. I'd also kick up the seasonings more.

    Feb 7, 2014

    For this dish I believe cooking the noodles seperate, then stirring them in the last 20 minutes or so of cooking would be the best. My noodles were mushy. I did like the idea of doing this in a crock pot. It also needs instead of prepared Italilan seasoning your own additions of garlic, oregano, sweet basil, crushed red pepper, some parsley and a little grated parmesean would have helped this a lot.

  • voodoowitch
    Feb 1, 2014

    I agree with the previous review. I watched the pasta carefully but there is still a very fine line between too under cooked and mush. I added black olives, more mushrooms and green pepper and still thought it tasted pretty bland. Did not really have a pizza taste to it at all. I liked the idea that it could be cooked in the crock pot but honestly I have much better recipes for the oven and I think I will stick to those.

  • chrissteve
    Jan 4, 2014

    What a disappointment! So many great ingredients to end up in the garbage. After three hours, the pasta had cooked to mush. We tried to eat it (an hour earlier than we expected) but somehow the texture was too unappetizing. I might make this as a baked casserole because it does seem to be a good idea; but I don't recommend using a slow cooker. I'd cook the pasta, cut back on the tomato ingredients, add more Italian seasoning and then just bake it enough to melt the cheese. Some cottage cheese or ricotta might lighten it up a little, too.