Cavatini has a trio of pasta shapes with three kinds of meat mixed with veggies and cheese and baked until piping hot.
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Cavatini is my recipe of the day for #BakingBloggers, who post once a month on a baking topic- and sometimes baked things aren’t cookies!
Everybody loves baked pasta as is evidenced by the topic of the month, which we vote on out of a pool of ideas. Not that the other ideas weren’t great, but after the holiday season I think everyone was ready for something different. And noodles.
An Old Pizza Hut Favorite
This is one of my fav retro recipes which hails back to Pizza Hut. I worked there one time for a couple of months as a waitress. Waitressing really wasn’t my best talent. I started there around Halloween and it was a nightmare that I hated. The only nice part was that every night we got to have whatever we liked to eat for break, which was for me, pizza (I liked thick and chewy pepperoni and mushroom!). But after a couple of weeks of pizza it becomes…*UGH!* and I then moved on to everything else.
They had the pasta in the little oval dishes- spaghetti and also cavatini- which I liked because it has pepperoni and also veggies in it.
So this basically was my diet every other day between pizzas until New Year’s Eve. I had been broke up with my boyfriend for a few months and during that time, the boss’s son asked me out to a Moody Blues concert and I said yes. But you know, it turned out I liked him better as a friend so we didn’t date any more than that. And a few weeks later I got back together with my ex and he asked me out for New Years which was nice (I had the day off)- so right as I am getting ready to head out the door, boss calls me to come in and take the shift of the person two hours after shift start time (person who was scheduled mysteriously called in sick) and I said I couldn’t because I had set plans and was just leaving to go out and so…she fired me.
And so ended my stint as a waitress. But still I liked the cavatini. We’d go every now and then to Pizza Huts and have that- until it sort of disappeared. Last time I saw it was at a Pizza Hut in Gainesville Florida and then after that, nothing.
It’s really not too hard to make. Just know the wagon wheels cook longer than the other pastas so start it first. Or just use whatever kind of pasta you like.
I served this when my kids dropped in. Gabe, who usually hates anything with mushrooms still enjoyed this. They also sampled some of the Ethiopian I had made (see the previous posts) and I made meatballs and caramelized balsamic onion jam for goat cheese and crackers.
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- 6 ounces uncooked rotini noodles
- 6 ounces uncooked medium shells
- 4 ounces uncooked rotelle (wagon wheel pasta)
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 (39 ounce) can pasta sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 (5 ounce) package sliced pepperoni
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil; add wagon wheel pasta and cook for six minutes, then add the other pasta (rotini and shells) to the cooking water and continue cooking all of them together for another 8-10 minutes or until cooked al dente, then drain.
- While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Brown the meats and vegetables in a large skillet, seasoning with salt, pepper and herbs; drain off all fat.
- Stir together the cooked meat, pepperoni slices, pasta sauce, water, cooked pasta and the parmesan cheese; place mixture into a large rectangular baking casserole (lasagna pan).
- Cover pasta with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and nicely golden on top.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Your cavatini brings back memories! Pizza Hut was my first job, back in 1980. I worked there when they rolled out their taco pizza (it was a resounding failure and disappeared quickly). My sister worked at the Carvel ice cream next door, and we’d send them over pizzas in exchange for ice cream sundaes.
A variety of pasta and cheese. How could you ever go wrong?
Such a fun recipe! I don’t remember ever having this and now feel like I missed out. My kids will love the assortment of pasta shapes- the wheels especially are their favorite.
It’s really good, especially if you like ziti or riggies.
Great story! I never knew Pizza Hut had pasta! And your cavatini looks amazing.
I could eat a big plate of this any time! How about Thursday? lol
This casseroles look so delicious, loved this when it was served in Pizza Hut.
Different types of pasta in one dish and that lovely cheese baked on top…just yum…
Cavatini once had FOUR different types of pasta, not three. I was a cook from 1980-82.
The four chapes are: CAVAtelli, RoTINI, Mostaccioli, and Wheels.
Perhaps we remember differently. But it doesn’t matter what type macaroni is used anyway. If you like using those four types, by all means, go for it! Have a happy St. Pat’s Day!
It is possible that one of the pastas was removed after 1982. I was the cook, so I took the dried pasta and combined it in preparation (we cooked it ahead of time). There was also a promotional display consisting of a tall cheese shaker filled instead with uncooked Cavatini, with an affixed sticker “What is a Cavatini?” I had an unused sticker on my bedroom wall for several years, as I thought the Pizza Hut lingo of the time was amusing. That helped keep my memory refreshed. The worst one was the promotion where we all had to wear buttons reading “Ask me how many ‘mmm’s’ are in a Pan Pizza”.
I worked there in ’79. I don’t recall the shaker. And they didn’t quite have pan pizza yet. And no buttons. I do recall the driver’s cap as part of the uniform. I hated it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the franchise owner just used whatever pasta they wanted. At any rate none of the food there tastes the way it used to (the things they still have). We just have to do our best out here in the wild. 🙂