Chef John Folse: Baked muffuletta pasta

Chef John Folse: Muffaletta Casserole

(WVUE) - The Muffuletta is an Italian sandwich created in the late 1800s. The sandwich originated when Italian merchants working in New Orleans markets placed a mixture of broken green and black olives that were found on the bottom of olive barrels on loaves of round Italian bread known as "muffs." Over this mixture, they layered slices of meat and cheese. These traditional sandwich ingredients are also delicious when transformed into a baked pasta dish. You may also choose to add or substitute turkey, andouille, or other Italian meats.

Prep Time: 1 Hour

Yields: 4–6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 pound penne pasta

½ pound smoked ham, chopped

½ pound Genoa salami, chopped

½ pound Italian sausage, chopped

½ pound grated mozzarella cheese, divided

½ pound grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 cup olive salad mix

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

¼ cup minced garlic

salt and black pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse and allow to cool. Combine cheeses in a medium bowl. Place pasta in a large mixing bowl and add ham, salami, sausage, olive salad mix, black olives, minced garlic and half of the cheese mixture. Mix to combine well. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Transfer mixture to a greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheeses. Bake 30–40 minutes or until bubbly and cheese topping melts.