This ground beef pasta recipe can be made in under 30 minutes with any pasta you have and tastes like it’s been simmered all day long on the stove. A true weeknight dinner superstar!
I love a good Sunday sauce. The kind that simmers for a couple of hours and you cozy up with an early bowl of comfort around 4pm. Lamb bolognese is the prime example of that.
This ground beef pasta recipe is the easy, 30 minute version of that kind of meal. It’s what you turn to on a busy weeknight for a satisfying dinner that requires little effort and mostly pantry ingredients you probably have on hand.
These are my favorite kind of meals. Minimal cleanup with big hearty flavor everyone will love. I mean, if you don’t like meat, sauce and pasta, what kind of person are you?!
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- pasta – choose your favorite type/shape. I chose elbows but penne, rigatoni, farfalle, etc. are all good options. You can also use a gluten-free pasta if desired. I did.
- olive oil
- ground beef
- garlic (use fresh cloves if possible!)
- tomato paste
- tomato sauce
- diced tomatoes
- dijon mustard (feel free to omit if you don’t keep this on hand, it’s just a little flavor booster)
- broth (any kind)
- Italian seasoning
- milk (any kind, including heavy cream or half and half)
- pecorino romano or parmesan
The list may appear long but all the tomato products are canned goods you probably have in your pantry.
Honestly, the only item I don’t always have is the fresh parsley. And if that’s you in this situation, just omit it or use dried. It’s only a garnish.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA WITH GROUND BEEF
Start by getting the water boiling for the pasta. Fill up a large pot with water and season generously with salt.
While that comes to a boil, make the sauce. Heat a large skillet with the olive oil over a medium-high flame. Once hot, add the onions and cook until they start to soften, just a few minutes.
Add the ground beef and garlic to the pan. Break up with a spatula as it cooks until browned.
If the water is boiling at this point, add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package directions.
Return your attention to the skillet and add all the tomato products, dijon, broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 5-7 minutes then add the milk and grated cheese. Stir to combine.
Drain the cooked pasta then add to the skillet. Toss to mix everything together and garnish with parsley before serving.
Keep some additional grated cheese on the side for topping because what bowl of pasta with ground beef doesn’t need some more cheese?
RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
- The ground beef pasta stores really well. In fact, it even freezes well. This is a great recipe to make on the weekend for meal-prep or to prepare a double batch- one for eating immediately and one to throw in the freezer for another time. If you’re doing this, freeze the meat sauce portion without the pasta and just cook up the pasta when you want to serve it.
- Swap out the parsley for basil for a different fresh flavor.
- Don’t have any hard Italian cheese on hand? You can use a grated cheddar in this instead. It goes well with the ground beef pasta too.
- Need it to be dairy free? Use a plant-based milk alternative and plant-based cheese.
ADD SOME VEGGIES!
What I love about this meal is it feels complete and satisfying as it is. But, if you want to add some vegetables in for added nutrition, fiber and satiety, it can easily incorporate them as well.
Vegetables that work well in this ground beef and pasta recipe:
- baby spinach/kale/chard
We almost always have some baby leafy greens on hand so I often throw a couple handfuls of those into this dish (they wilt down to nothing).
If you pick the zucchini, mushrooms or eggplant, simply chop them up to prep and add them to the skillet after the meat is browned to sauté for a few minutes before adding the remainder of the ingredients.
SWAP OUT THE MEAT
While I always default to ground beef as a red meat fan, this skillet pasta dish can also be made with ground turkey, chicken or pork. This Italian sausage pasta is an incredibly recipe similar using pork sausage.
Similarly, other red meat options like ground lamb, veal, elk or venison will also work well.
If we’re talking about game meats and pasta though, ground venison stroganoff is high on my favorites list!
MORE GROUND BEEF RECIPES TO TRY:
Easy Ground Beef Pasta Skillet
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta, shape of choice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup broth, chicken, beef or vegetable
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper
- splash of milk, any kind
- 1 cup grated pecorino romano, or parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the ground beef and garlic to the pan and cook until the beef is browned, breaking apart with a spatula.
- At this point, add the pasta to the pot with the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
- Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, dijon, diced tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes while the pasta cooks then add the milk and grated cheese. Stir to combine.
- Drain the pasta then add to the skillet with the ground beef. Toss together until well mixed then top with parsley to serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.