Quick, creamy and packed with flavor, this One-Pot Pepperoni Pasta has your weeknight dinner plans covered. Loved by adults and kids alike, this dish is customizable so you can add as much spicy zip as you desire.
My dear friend shared this Pepperoni Pasta recipe with me about 15 years ago. Her household loves it as much as mine has. Combined, we’ve had six boys who were raised on this pasta and still regularly request it for dinner.
Simple Ingredients, One-Pot Ease
Most of the flavor in this dish is derived from the pepperoni. Additional zip comes from pickled banana peppers (mild or hot) and some sweetness from roasted red peppers.
The pickled banana peppers add an acidic twang that really wakes up your taste buds. If you don’t like heat, please try it with mild peppers, even if you’re not otherwise a fan. If you love heat, crank it up with whole or chopped pepperoncini peppers in addition to the banana peppers.
How to make One-Pot Pepperoni Pasta
- Heat water to near boiling in the microwave.
- Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic.
- Stir in pasta, pepperoni, peppers, rosemary and seasonings as well as the very hot water.
- Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- When pasta is nearly cooked, stir in cream, Parmesan and parsley.
Note: There is little salt in the recipe. That’s because pepperoni is quite strong and when cooked in the hot water if flavors the pasta throughout. Yummy!
Want another great creamy pasta recipe? Check out my Salmon Cream Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers.
If you’re unfamiliar with sliced pickled banana peppers, they look like this in the jar. You can choose hot or mild.
One-Pot Pepperoni Pasta
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 7 oz pepperoni, slices separated and cut up if large
- ½ cup drained sliced pickled banana peppers, hot or mild (or sliced pepperoncinis)
- 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained & cut up
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed)
- 12 oz penne pasta, or other of your choice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- 3½ cups very hot water
- ½ cup cream (heavy if you have it, or half & half)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, if you have it
- In a 4 cup glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe bowl, heat the 3½ cups of water in the microwave until nearly boiling. This will take approximately 5 minutes, depending on your microwave.
- Meanwhile, heat a large 12" skillet (that has a lid.) Add the oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Into the skillet add the pasta, pepperoni, red peppers, and banana peppers, as well as the rosemary and salt and pepper. Pour the hot water over all and stir to prevent sticking. Bring to a boil quickly and immediately reduce to a simmer.
- Cover the skillet and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in the cream, Parmesan and parsley. The pasta dish will thicken upon standing.
- If you’d like to extend the dish to one pound of pasta, add 4 cups of hot water and a little more cream and Parmesan cheese to your liking.
- You can add whatever you like to this dish – olives, vegetables, or other meats or cheeses. The beauty of this recipe is the water to pasta ratio as a base!