Crowd-Pleasing Cavatini was one of the very first recipes I published here, in September of 2008! It’s still one of our favorite meals, easily feeds a dozen or more adults, and deserves a bit of a revival.
Cavatini is a great recipe to “cook once, eat twice.” It makes a lot (even for my tribe!) and freezes beautifully.
I prepare it almost the same as I did years ago, but now I use fresh mushrooms (Man, I used to use a lot of cans. What’s up with that?!) and add just 2-3 drops of essential oils (oregano, thyme, basil or even Young Living’s special Taste of Italy blend) for extra flavor. The first time I thought to add oils, my husband asked, “What did you do different? It went from really great to awesome!” Oils add a major flavor punch. The end.
Crowd Pleasing Cavatini
- 6 cups (14-16 ounces) dry pasta (a combination of shell, curly, penne, etc.)
- ½ cup butter
- ½ – ¾ cup chopped onion
- ½ – ¾ cup chopped green pepper
- 1 – 1½ cups fresh, chopped mushrooms
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 cups (16 ounces) tomato sauce
- 4 cups (32 ounces) spaghetti sauce
- ½ – ¾ cup diced deli ham
- ½ – ¾ cup diced pepperoni
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon oregano
- 4-6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese
- OPTIONAL: 2-3 drops Young Living Essential Oils (oregano, thyme, basil,)
Boil the pasta until just underdone, drain and rinse. Saute the onion, green pepper and mushrooms in the butter.
Brown the ground beef in a large stockpot. Drain. Stir in to the hamburger the saute mixture, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, ham, pepperoni, salt, pepper and oregano. (Optional: Add essential oils for extra flavor.) Add pasta. Stir well. Layer meat mixture and cheeses in 2 different 9×13 baking dishes. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes at 350°.
Recipe Side Notes:
- If you are splitting your recipe into smaller pans, check out my freezer post for a handy tip.
- The only way to mess this up is to overcook the pasta (no one likes mushy pasta.) Don’t do that! Undercook it, just a little. It will finish cooking in the oven.
- If you feel like there’s not enough liquid, go ahead and add a little extra spaghetti or tomato sauce.
- Cavatini tastes great with a green salad, green beans, corn, and fresh bread. Easy French Bread and Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Breadsticks both are delicious!