One of the things I loved about spaghetti night in my house growing up is that I knew the next night would be Pasta Pizza Night! My Mom would take our leftover spaghetti ~ sauce and all, top it all with a big layer of cheeses, then, bake it for about 15 minutes until it melted all over the pasta. We couldn’t wait to dive into those pasta pizza wedges.
That was the “easy” spaghetti pizza recipe. Other versions included taking everything you’d have on a pizza, sauce included, topping it with cheese and baking it similar to Bubble Up Casserole which you all know I adore.
This Pesto Pasta Pizza is my spin on one of my childhood favorites. I really wanted to replicate one of my favorite dishes Caprese Salad and make into a pasta pizza that was loaded with extra cheesy goodness. Like all pasta dishes, it is even better the next day when all the flavors meld together.
Did I mention it’s good for you and only 8 points+ a slice?! Yes, it IS totally worth every single bit.
FRESH TOMATO, BASIL & MOZZARELLA PASTA PIZZA (print it!)
- 12 oz. Barilla Plus Spaghetti
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup pesto (store bought or make your own)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup basil, chopped
- 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 8 oz. mozzarella balls
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the pasta according to the packaged instructions. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. While the pasta cooks, add 1 tsp. olive oil to a 10-12 inch nonstick pan and place over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, add color and continue cooking for another minute. Pour the onion garlic mixture on the pasta.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta bowl and toss until the pasta is coated and the pesto is mixed in.
3. Preheat the 10-12 inch nonstick pan over medium heat. Add half the remaining oil (about 1/2 Tbsp.) to the pan and pour the pasta mixture into the pan. Use a spatula to press the pasta slightly into the pan and let it cook forming the brown crust, about 10-12 minutes.
4. Place a large plate on top of the skillet, hold and flip upside down. Add the remaining oil to the 10-12 inch nonstick skillet and gentle slide the pasta pizza back into the pan. Continue cooking for another 7-8 minutes, remove from heat, slice into 8 wedges and serve.
Makes 8 triangles, 8 points+ each, SF + 2 WPA
Nutritional information per serving calculated at caloriecount.com
STEP – BY – STEP:
While the pasta cooks, prepare the fresh tomato, basil & mozzarella “pasta pizza” ingredients.
Pizza isn’t really pizza to me without the cheese! I drained a container of mini fresh mozzarella balls, rinsed and tossed with a little sea salt and pepper.
I prefer making my own pesto as I can make it lighter and healthier. When I make a big batch, I will put some in the freezer with a little oil on top to preserve the flavors and take it out when I need just a little for recipes like this. You can easily use store bought too.
Sauté the onion with a little olive oil over medium heat until softened.
Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.
Toss the pasta with pesto ~ feel free to use more to boost the basil garlicky flavor.
Add the remaining ingredients…
Cheesy goodness x’s too ~ one sharp flavor aka parmesan for a little nuttiness and one creamy, cheese like the mozzarella balls.
And the liquid egg whites to bind it all together ~ don’t worry you won’t taste or see them.
Toss it all together until the pasta is evenly coated and the pizza toppings are distributed evenly.
Preheat the 10-12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and press it down slightly so it fits snugly in the pan.
I used a large cookie sheet to cover the nonstick skillet, then, carefully flipped the pan over. The result….the crunchy, browned pizza crust – YUM!
Add the remaining oil to the nonstick pant then, using your spatula, gently slide the pasta pizza into the skillet. Cook an additional 8 minutes to brown the other side. Remove from heat, slice and serve!
You get 8 nice sized pizza slices that taste just like your having this incredibly tasty caprese pasta that is packed with garlic, basil, sweet & tart tomatoes, cheesy mozzarella bites with a crispy pizza pasta crust.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Have you ever made a Pasta Pizza? What did you include “in” your pizza?