Beef Pasta Casserole

Say “Mac and Cheese.” An easy fix to a pasta craving.  But if I have a little time on my hands, why settle for the fresh-off-the-box American classic?  Why not go for a home-made, beef pasta casserole? The aroma of sauteed beef and the Parmesan cheese melting and bread crumbs toasting never fails to kick the appetite several notches higher.

Back home in the Philippines, where my family didn’t have the luxury of an oven, the only way I could enjoy beef pasta – other than spaghetti –  was through a soup recipe. No casseroles, no baked pasta dishes.

The ingredients I used for this beef pasta casserole are the same ingredients I would use for the pasta soup – minus the cheese – but that would be for another future recipe.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups twisted pasta

1/2 lb ground beef

3 1/2 cups water

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/3 cup chopped onions

1/3 cup tomatoes, sliced into tiny cubes

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle of bread crumbs

Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

In a medium sauce pan, boil 3 cups of water, adding a tsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt

Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain and set aside

In another medium sauce pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil (medium high heat)

Add the garlic and cook until golden brown

Add the onions, tomatoes and green onions

Add the ground beef and saute to brown, stirring constantly

Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water

Add the cooked pasta

Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly

Transfer the mixture into a one-quart casserole

Sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on top

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

Place the casserole, uncovered, in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Serve with steamed vegetables.

(Makes 3-4 servings)

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