When I first discovered that pasta could be cooked in the same pan as the sauce, my mind was blown. Wow! Who would have thought that was even possible, let alone it would taste good? Once I was over the initial shock, the implications of such a cooking technique opened all sorts of possibilities. This included recreating a family-favorite pasta and ground beef dish that required multiple pots and pans for cooking the ground beef, the sauce, and the pasta. While the traditional recipe was delicious, it needed more effort than I had energy after a long day and the clean-up was a real pain. I am excited to present my reinvented pasta cheeseburger dinner prepared in three steps with just one large skillet, perfect for a mid-week dinner.
Another reason I love this recipe is the flexibility it offers, starting with the ground beef. Ground turkey works equally well. Ground meat is known for soaking up whatever flavors are added to it. Based on what you have in your fridge, add your choice of veggies, from onions, mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, or sweet mini peppers. After the ground meat is browned and veggies are soft, drain off the fat if necessary. (I like using lean ground beef as the fat is minimal.) Stir in the pasta sauce and water, bring it to a boil.
Sidebar: Speaking of pasta sauce, I don’t buy the expensive stuff. I get whatever is on sale and zhoosh it up with a splash of cider vinegar and a dash of nutmeg to add a “homemade” taste.
Add the pasta to the boiling mixture, cover, and let the magic begin. In 14 minutes, the pasta will be cooked and the sauce thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt. If you like a little heat, add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
This dinner goes great with garlic bread and a fresh salad. Clean-up is easy breezy. Talk about a great weeknight dinner!
One Pan Cheeseburger PastaCourse: Main, LunchCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
The perfect weeknight dinner! Just 3-steps and 30 minutes are all it takes. Everything is cooked and served in the same skillet for easy clean-up.
1 lbs. lean ground beef
½ onion chopped
Optional vegetables: sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, chopped bell pepper
1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) pasta sauce
2½ cups water
6 ounces uncooked or cavatappi (corkscrew) or rotini (spiral) pasta
2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz.)
Optional: Oregano (dried or fresh) for garnish
- Brown ground beef in 12-inch skillet with onions and optional veggies; drain.
- Stir in Pasta Sauce and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in uncooked rotini and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook covered, stirring occasionally, 14 minutes or until pasta is tender.
- Remove from heat, stir in cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. If desired, garnish with oregano
- Pasta: most pasta shapes will work including shells, bowties, wagon wheel tube (ziti, penne). Guestimate on the amount, it’s about a half box
- Pasta sauce: use your favorite prepared tomato-based sauce.
- Ground beef: substitute ground turkey for a healthier version
- Zhoosh up the sauce with a dash of nutmeg and a splash of cider vinegar
- Add red pepper flakes if you like a little heathttps://amzn.to/3rX7EfG