Recipe for Cavatini - Pizza Over Noodles
A Shell Pasta Delicacy
The original Cavatini dish that I liked in a few Central Ohio Pizza Huts in the 1970s was made of pizza toppings and marinara sauce served by pouring it over large shell pasta called "Conchingle." It was served in a large round bowl and was accompanied with a side salad and freshly baked garlic toast.
This incarnation of the dish left the casual dining chain's menu too soon in my city; but first, it became a casserole dish that contained fewer ingredients.
That reduction may have been its downfall, because it reduced the number of well-matched flavors in the dish as well. However, a similar casserole dish is currently served on the food bar in a few Pizza Huts in town today.
I still love the very first original, though: my favorite pizza in a bowl of pasta.
Imagine Your Favorite Pizza in a Bowl.
Photos on the Internet of the dish from that era show a casserole meal in an oval serving dish or in a large aluminum take-out serving pan. The pasta is what my friends call "corkscrews" or Rotini.
Pizza Huts that host weekday All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Buffets include some Rotini with meat sauce, but it is not the Cavatini of old. Other stores in the chain serve a Pizza Hut Cavatini that is baked in a pan and mentioned at the tend of this Hub.
Some folks began calling the dish "Cavatelli" as well, adding to the confusion about the dish, because Cavatelli is a type of noodle stuffed with any of a variety of fillings.
Pastas Historically Used in CavatiniClick thumbnail to view full-size
What Was the First Bowl of Cavatini Like?
Popular CopyKat recipes on the Internet are those for the later, casserole-style meal, so I suspect that the original dish did not last long on most Pizza Hut restaurant menus. Patrons still look for it, though.
The original dish included in its sauce: chunks of Italian sausage, slices of pepperoni, mild onions, mushrooms, coarsely chopped green peppers, and black olives. I especially recall the pepperoni and black olives as very flavorful.
I do not remember any cheese in the dish, but I suspect that shredded mozzarella was used and think it would be delicious and smooth in the dish today.
Cavatini Pizza Sauce
- 6-oz Can Tomato Paste, Use your favorite brand.
- 1.5 Cups Water, Add additional water if sauce is too thick for your taste.
- 1/3 Cup EVOO - extra virgin olive oil, Use your favorite brand.
- 2 or more Cloves Garic, Peeled and minced.
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano, Or 1 TBSP Fresh Oregano, chopped.
- 2 tsp Dried Basil, Or 1 TBSP Fresh Basil, chopped.
- Coarse grained Salt - Sea Salt or Kosher, To taste.
- Ground Black Pepper, To taste.
Ingredients to Add to the Sauce
- Some light oil for browning and sauteing.
- 8 oz (1/2 pound) Italian sausage, browned -- Don't break it up too much, but allow the sausage to stay in chunks the size of a quarter.
- 4 oz. of sliced pepperoni,
- 1/3 Cup chunked, mild white or yellow onions
- 3/4 Cup sliced white mushrooms
- 1/3 Cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
- 1/3 Cup black olive slices or whole black olives
- Either grated Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese for topping.
Cavatini Pizza Sauce Instructions
- Pour a little light oil a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the Italian sausage until just browned, leaving it in loose chunks and not broken into tiny pieces. Remove from the heat and drain meat on a paper towel laid on a plate.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, place the tomato paste, water, and oil together and stir to mix well.
- Place skillet over medium-high heat and saute onions, garlic and mushrooms together until just softening and add all of these to the sauce. Turn heat off under the skillet.
- Add the pepperoni, green pepper, black olives, basil, and oregano to the sauce and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cook one pound of large pasta shells according to package directions and drain. Divide the cooked pasta among four serving bowls.
- When the meats and vegetables in the sauce are done to your taste, remove sauce from heat and ladle over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese, which will melt. OR, place some cheese over the hot pasta and then ladle the sauce over the cheese. See what you like best.
- Place remaining sauce in an air tight container and place in refrigerator. Use it within a few days.
Food (equivalent serving sizes)
Homemade Cavatini in a Bowl Recipe
Pizza Hut Cavatini Casserole
Pizza with meats, cheese and vegetables and regular crust
Spaghetti with sauce and meatballs
For Comparison - Pizza Hut Cavatini in a Pan by Stephanie Manley
Cavatini in a Pan (Casserole)Click thumbnail to view full-size
© 2014 Patty Inglish MS