Recipe of the Week


Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 6 Servings

For a bold flavor, be sure to use Mexican cheese blend, which is a combination of Monterey Jack, cheddar and asadero cheeses. This dish is best served the day it is made.

12 ounces vermicelli or thin spaghetti
1 tbsp salt
4 ounces sliced deli pepperoni, ¼-inch diced
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced bell peppers
¼ cup minced garlic
3 (14½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup chopped fresh basil

Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with vegetable oil spray and set aside. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until nearly tender, stirring often. While pasta is cooking, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic and sauté 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add pepperoni and cook 2–3 minutes or until crisp. Stir in tomatoes and red pepper flakes then season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until sauce is thickened and reduced to approximately 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Cover, set aside and keep warm. When pasta is done, drain and return pasta to the pot. Add 2 cups cooked tomato sauce, cheese, cream and basil and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared pie plate and press with a spatula to flatten the surface. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 10–15 minutes. Serve with remaining 2 cups sauce on the side.

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