There’s something undeniably comforting about a hearty plate of beef pasta in tomato sauce. It’s a dish that brings to mind family gatherings, laughter around the dinner table, and the simple joy of a well-cooked meal.
Inspired by a classic recipe and infused with our own culinary twists, this beef pasta dish is not just easy to whip up on a busy weeknight but also a surefire hit with both kids and adults alike.
Originating from the rustic kitchens of Italy, beef pasta has traveled across continents, gathering fans along the way.
Its charm lies in its simplicity and the heartwarming blend of flavors that come from everyday ingredients. This recipe, with its rich tomato sauce and tender ground beef, is a testament to the dish’s timeless appeal and its ability to be both nourishing and delicious.
Every ingredient in this recipe plays a pivotal role in creating a dish that’s bursting with flavor yet astonishingly simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8 ounces of pasta: A foundation for the dish, pasta like penne or rigatoni works best for holding onto the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil: For sautéing, olive oil adds a subtle richness.
- 1 pound of lean ground beef: The star of the dish, providing protein and depth.
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped: Adds a hint of sweetness and texture.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced: For that essential aromatic kick.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning: A blend that brings the classic Italian herbs to your kitchen.
- 1 tablespoon instant bouillon cube (chicken or beef): Enhances the overall flavor profile.
- 1 (15-ounce) can marinara tomato sauce: The base of the sauce, rich and tangy.
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: To taste, for seasoning.
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese: Adds a creamy, cheesy element.
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley: For a fresh, herby finish.
Each of these ingredients contributes to the symphony of flavors in this dish. The beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility – feel free to tweak the ingredients to suit your palate or dietary needs.
Next, we’ll dive into the heart of the recipe – the step-by-step cooking guide, where we bring these ingredients together to create a dish that’s sure to become a new family favorite.
A Step-by-Step Cooking Guide:
Creating this delightful beef pasta dish is a journey through aromas and flavors that promise to tantalize your taste buds.
Let’s embark on this culinary adventure, ensuring each step is followed with care to bring out the best in our ingredients.
- Preparation of Pasta: Begin by cooking the pasta, which forms the base of our dish. In a large pot, bring salted water to a rolling boil. Add the 8 ounces of pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. This means the pasta should be tender yet firm to the bite. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside. Remember, the pasta will continue to cook slightly in the sauce, so it’s important not to overcook it at this stage.
- Sautéing the Base: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped half sweet onion. Sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until it becomes translucent and soft, which should take about 2-3 minutes. This process is crucial as it lays the flavor foundation for our sauce.
- Adding Aromatics: To the sautéed onions, add the 2 minced cloves of garlic, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning. The garlic should not brown but become fragrant, releasing its aroma into the oil – a process that takes about a minute. This step infuses the oil with flavors that will permeate through the entire dish.
- Browning the Beef: Now, introduce 1 pound of lean ground beef to the skillet. Break the beef apart with your cooking utensil and cook until it’s browned and no longer pink. This should take around 5 minutes. As the beef cooks, it will release juices; make sure to crumble it well and stir frequently for an even cook. Once browned, drain any excess fat to ensure your sauce isn’t greasy.
- Combining with Tomato Sauce: Pour in the 15-ounce can of marinara tomato sauce into the skillet with the beef. If you’re using an instant bouillon cube, crumble it in now. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. This simmering process helps the flavors meld together and intensifies the richness of the sauce.
- Seasoning and Final Touches: It’s time to season your sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or adjust according to your taste. Now, gently fold in the cooked pasta into the sauce, ensuring each piece is beautifully coated. Let the pasta and sauce cook together for a couple of minutes. This step allows the pasta to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
- Cheese and Parsley Addition: Finally, sprinkle in 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley. Stir until the cheese is melted and the parsley is well distributed. The cheese adds a creamy texture and a salty, nutty flavor, while the parsley brings a burst of freshness.
Serve this heartwarming beef pasta hot, garnished with a little more parsley or cheese if desired. Each spoonful is a blend of comforting flavors and textures, making it a perfect dish for any day of the week.
After mastering the art of cooking this delightful beef pasta, let’s delve into the final touches that elevate it from a simple meal to a memorable dining experience.
Plating the Pasta: Serve the beef pasta in warm bowls to keep it hot. Garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a few leaves of fresh parsley for a pop of color.
Side Dishes: Complement this hearty dish with a light side, such as a crisp green salad or steamed vegetables, to balance the richness.
Wine Pairing: A glass of medium-bodied red wine, like a Chianti or Merlot, pairs beautifully with the robust flavors of the beef and tomato sauce.
Storing and Reheating:
Refrigeration: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This ensures the flavors continue to meld, often making the pasta even more delicious the next day.
Reheating: Gently reheat the pasta on the stove over low heat, adding a splash of water or broth to loosen the sauce if needed. Alternatively, microwave it in short bursts, stirring in between to heat evenly.
Freezing the Sauce: If you have leftover sauce, it can be frozen separately for up to 3 months.
Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stove, then toss with freshly cooked pasta for a quick and tasty meal.
Healthier Options: For a lighter version, consider using whole wheat pasta or ground turkey. Adding vegetables like spinach or mushrooms can increase the nutritional value.
Dietary Adaptations: For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free pasta. Vegetarians can substitute the beef with a plant-based ground meat alternative or extra veggies.
This beef pasta in tomato sauce recipe is more than just a meal; it’s a celebration of simple ingredients coming together to create something truly special.
It’s a testament to the fact that delicious, heartwarming food doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Whether you’re cooking for a busy weeknight dinner or a casual gathering with friends, this dish is sure to impress.