Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-12Skillet dinners are some of my favorite. Why? Less dishes to wash, very easy to prepare and most importantly, you’ll have a meal on the table in half an hour.What’s not to like? Even better, this particular recipe makes use of the ingredients that you probably already have in the house, so you can avoid an unnecessary trip to the grocery store. Bookmark this one, busy mamas! It really does remind me of a juicy cheeseburger, all beefy and cheesy. The smooth and silky sauce brings it all together and fresh herbs always add freshness to any dinner. 

Go shopping in your fridge and pantry and adjust this recipe to whatever you happen to have on hand. Use any ground meat or sausage that you like, add bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and any kind of cheese that melts well. To make it really taste like a cheeseburger, add some pickles and serve with some fresh chopped tomatoes. 

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon oil

3/4 lb ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

salt, ground black pepper

14 oz tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes)

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

1 cup water or broth

1 1/2 cups milk

8 oz (approximately 2 cups) elbow pasta

4-6 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, jack, etc)

fresh herbs (green onion, parsley, etc.)

Instructions:

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-22In a 12 inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil, add the ground beef and cook on medium high heat until the meat has browned.

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-21I like to use sirloin ground beef, which has a lot of flavor but is also pretty lean. I didn’t have to drain it at all.  Of course, you can use any ground beef you like, or any ground meat for that matter (ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, ground lamb, etc.). If you use a ground meat that has more fat content, you may have a lot of drippings. You will need to drain most of it off, or your finished dish will be very greasy.

Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper to the browned meat. Season with salt and pepper. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-20Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are tender. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-19Add the tomato sauce and the thyme. You can also use crushed tomatoes instead of the sauce and also use Italian seasoning instead of the fresh thyme. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-18Pour in the broth and the milk. Bring to a boil. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-17Add the pasta, cook, at a simmer, for about 10 minutes, uncovered until the pasta has cooked through. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-16At this point, check the consistency of the pasta. You might want to add more liquid if it’s too thick. Discard the thyme stems.

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-15It is important to cook this dish in a 12 inch skillet and also to cook the pasta uncovered. As the pasta cooks, the liquid will reduce and be absorbed into the pasta. The starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce. The larger skillet is important because there is more surface area, which will help the sauce to reduce properly. That’s also why you have to cook the pasta uncovered. If you leave it covered, some of the liquid will not evaporate and you will be left with a watery sauce.

Off the heat, add the shredded cheese and stir to combine. Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-14

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-13Serve with more cheese (if you’d like) and fresh herbs, such as green onion or parsley.Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta-1-12

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Tablespoon oil
  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 14 oz tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 8 oz (approximately 2 cups) elbow pasta
  • 4-6 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, jack, etc)
  • fresh herbs (green onion, parsley, etc.)
Instructions
  1. In a 12 inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil, add the ground beef and cook on medium high heat until the meat has browned.
  2. I like to use sirloin ground beef, which has a lot of flavor but is also pretty lean. Of course, you can use any ground beef you like, or any ground meat for that matter (ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, ground lamb, etc.). If you use a ground meat that has more fat content, you may have a lot of drippings. You will need to drain most of it off, or your finished dish will be very greasy.
  3. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper to the browned meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are tender.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and the thyme. You can also use crushed tomatoes instead of the sauce and also use Italian seasoning instead of the fresh thyme. Pour in the broth and the milk. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add the pasta, cook, at a simmer, for about 10 minutes, uncovered until the pasta has cooked through. At this point, check the consistency of the pasta. You might want to add more liquid if it's too thick. Discard the thyme stems.
  6. Off the heat, add the shredded cheese and stir to combine. Serve with more cheese (if you'd like) and fresh herbs, such as green onion or parsley.
Notes
It is important to cook this dish in a 12 inch skillet and also to cook the pasta uncovered. As the pasta cooks, the liquid will reduce and be absorbed into the pasta. The starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce. The larger skillet is important because there is more surface area, which will help the sauce to reduce properly. That's also why you have to cook the pasta uncovered. If you leave it covered, some of the liquid will not evaporate and you will be left with a watery sauce.

22 Comments

    • olgak7

      It’s definitely comforting, Natasha.
      I do have my appetite back about twice a week, so I thoroughly enjoy those moments when they happen:). That’s ok, though. I’m already 24 weeks, so it will soon be over with.

  • Vitaliya

    This turned out absolutely delicious Olga! What a brilliant idea for an easy night dinner!!!!!! It was so quick and easy to make!!! Keep these kind of recipes coming! Valik even took it to work with him and had some for lunch and usually he just was sandwiches! Thank you for the recipe!

  • veta

    Hi, Olya!
    First of all, I want to thank you for this recipe because for busy moms,, like me, it just perfect. It is easy, fast and delicious!!!!
    I made it couple minutes ago and half of the skillet of pasta is gone. My kids approved it!!! Even my 7 years old said that it tastes like from restaurant!!! Big THANK YOU, GIRL!!!!!! May God bless you!! I hope we’ll see more recipes like that! Easy and delicious!

  • Stacy

    Hi Olga,
    I have a couple questions. If I freeze it, would I need to do anything differently. Also, when I’m ready to use it, how long would I need to bake it for and what temperature? Thank you in advance. I love your recipes!

    • olgak7

      Hi Stacy.
      If you want to freeze it, just cook the pasta for a shorter amount of time so that it doesn’t get overcooked and mushy.
      To reheat, defrost it, then reheat it in a skillet or in the oven (350-400F) and the time depends on your oven and how cold it is when you put it in. Basically cook it just until it’s warm all the way through.

  • Andrea

    I love this recipe! We make it at least once a month.
    I was wondering if you have ever tried using whole grain pasta? I was thinking about parboiling it before adding it to the skillet. What do you think?

    • olgak7

      Hi Andrea,
      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy this recipe. I have never tried using whole wheat pasta. I don’t think you need to parboil it. Just cook it until it’s cooked through the way you like it. If you need to, add more liquid.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.