There’s nothing like the aroma of Italian food baking in the oven to make your family come running to the dinner table, especially on a brisk October day. The smell of blended Italian spices in a rich tomato sauce always makes your mouth water.

If you include a fresh salad and some tasty bread with your Italian entree, you can enjoy a meal just as delicious as one you’d be served in your favorite restaurant, and at a fraction of the price.

This recipe, which includes no pasta, offers you something a little different than you’d get in an Italian restaurant, though, since it’s a cross between a dish pizza and a casserole.

If you grow your own basil, a little sprinkle of your fresh or dried leaves will give this recipe an even richer flavor.

DEEP-DISH ITALIAN CASSEROLE

1 pound ground beef

1 (15-ounce) can of garlic tomato pasta sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 (8-ounce) can of crescent rolls from the dairy case

2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves

8 ounces thin sliced pepperoni

Shredded Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Brown ground beef; add pasta sauce and sugar and heat until warm.

Separate crescent roll dough into 8 triangles. Place dough in ungreased pie pan in spoke pattern with narrow tips overlapping rim of pie plate.

Press dough inside pie plate together to from a crust that covers plate. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese over dough.

Spoon meat mixture evenly over cheese. Place pepperoni slices evenly over meat mixture.

Bring tips of dough over filling to meet in center. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over entire casserole and add desired amount of Parmesan cheese over top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is lightly browned. Serves 6-8.

Brotherton offers website readers one stellar recipe a week in the “My Leader Yummy” feature.

Looking for a recipe you can’t find? Email me at kbrotherton42@gmail.com and I’ll see if I have it.

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