I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it. It was the day after Thanksgiving, it’s not like I was starving, not by any means. But after the first bite of this copycat Pizza Hut meaty marinara pasta I was suddenly very hungry. I could not get enough of it. It’s just flat-out delicious and it hit the spot on a cool November day. I’d make this dish again and again, exactly like it’s written.
The sauce in this copycat of Pizza Hut’s meaty marinara pasta is absolutely delicious. I’d definitely use it over spaghetti or in lasagna. And you have to have the cheese, and you have to get it just a bit browned. Oh… me yes! It is so good! I flashed back to the days of the Pizza Hut buffets where you’d find this great dish, pizza slices and crispy yummy salads!
I highly recommend that you shred or grate your own cheese at home. Don’t buy the pre-shredded or pre-grated stuff. It has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. That ‘stuff’ affects how the cheese melts. Shred it yourself and use the real stuff.
Also try my copycat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza.
Copycat Pizza Hut Meaty Marinara Pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- ½ teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 15 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 15 ounce crushed tomatoes
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 16 ounces rotini pasta
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Place the ground beef in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 the pepper, and all of the fennel seed. Using your hands, mix well.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef mixture and cook, breaking it up, until cooked through. Remove the beef to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Remove any excess grease from the pan. Add the oil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the onion and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic and stir, continuing to cook until the onion is just starting to soften.
- Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomato, Parmesan, basil, sugar, oregano and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- Increase heat to medium, stirring often, until the sauce starts to bubble.
- Stir in the ground beef mixture and reduce the heat to medium-low so the sauce simmers. Let cook 30-45 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Drain the pasta.
- Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Add half of the pasta and spread it out evenly. Top with half of the sauce, spreading it out evenly also.
- Add remaining pasta, again spreading it out evenly. Add the last of the sauce and and spread out evenly.
- Preheat your oven broiler to high.
- Sprinkle cheese over top of the dish, getting it from edge-to-edge.
- Place the dish under the broiler and broil for 2-4 minutes, keeping an eye on it, until the cheese just starts to brown.
- Remove and serve.
Nutritional values are approximate.