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Recipe for Cavatini - Pizza Over Noodles

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

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.

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.

Homemade Cavatini

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

25 min

20 min

45 min

Serves four bowls of Cavatini

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

  1. 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.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, place the tomato paste, water, and oil together and stir to mix well.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cook one pound of large pasta shells according to package directions and drain. Divide the cooked pasta among four serving bowls.
  6. 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.
  7. Place remaining sauce in an air tight container and place in refrigerator. Use it within a few days.

Homemade Cavatini

Calorie Comparisons

Food (equivalent serving sizes)Calories

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

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© 2014 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 13, 2014:

I like it a lot and hope you will try the recipe soon. I've I'd never ventured into Pizza Hut that year or so, I'd never have heard of it either!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 13, 2014:

Wow; glad I ran across this. Looks like a new favorite of mine! Great of you to share for I have never heard of it but one look and you know it has to be good. Thanks! ^+

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 25, 2014:

AH! I'm so happy to see that someone else enjoyed this dish in an actual Pizza Hut. We have good memories!

Pages-By-Patty from Midwest on September 25, 2014:

It was served in other Pizza Huts. I live in Indiana and this used to be my favorite. After they quit offering it, I started making mine own also. Love this stuff!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 22, 2014:

Thanks for the comments! For all I know, it may be the version thought up by one manager in the chain long ago. I used to go to only one Pizza Hut. I wonder if it was served elsewhere?

Dianna Mendez on September 22, 2014:

This looks pretty good to me. I will have to see if it is offered locally. I may have to try this recipe soon.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on September 19, 2014:

This is an interesting recipe. It's one that I will have to try. I love it when I get a bit of history with the dish.

Melanie Casey from Indiana on September 17, 2014:

Yum! I have never heard of this before.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 16, 2014:

Me too, and I love this one!

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on September 16, 2014:

Thanks, Patty. I love finding out about new decadent foods! Well, new to me, anyway.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 16, 2014:

I like this recipe and the ingredients sound tasty with such lovely flavors for a pizza.

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on September 16, 2014:

Why have I never heard about this? Is this something you eat on a regular basis, or have made several times?

Missy from The Midwest on September 16, 2014:


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 16, 2014:

Looks delicious, fits right in with our noodle dishes, I can hardly wait to try it.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 16, 2014:

@Rebeccamealey - Pizza and pasta together is good once in a while, like an Italian party!

I was thinking of pizza the other day when I remembered this dish. It's been a long time since the 1970s. Anyway, you can really use all of your favorite pizza toppings in the amounts you like best.

@RTalloni - That sounds good for a party, as you say! Thanks for the suggestion :)

RTalloni on September 16, 2014:

Thanks for posting this for us--good ole' hearty caveating! Doubling up for larger groups will give me something different for crowds!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 15, 2014:

Cavatini? How did I miss it! This makes me want to boil some pasta and order a pizza, LOL. Instead, I will be sensible and try this awesome recipe!

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