Kid-Friendly, Quick & Easy Beef Goulash made with ground beef is great for those busy nights you want something satisfying yet fast. There is nothing authentic about this goulash recipe. There is no slow-simmering involved. This one is just about the quickest meals I cook.
This pasta recipe is a perfect playground for beginner cooks.
It also serves as a great canvas for seasoned cooks that want to adjust a simple flavor profile into something more gourmet-like.
Ground beef goulash is the perfect alternative to cracking open a jar of spaghetti sauce.
Ground beef, onions, plain ole tomato sauce, a few seasonings, and a box of penne is all you need for this quick pasta recipe.
I generally start with about 1 1/2 of lean ground beef. You can add more meat or use less meat, that part is all a matter of preference. We just happen to like more meat in ours.
I have successfully made this dish with different ground meats.
Turkey, bison, and chicken have all been used successfully.
I don’t do venison, but I am certain ground venison would make a perfectly fine substitution.
Penne is my preferred pasta because it has small lines in it that seems to capture more sauce.
Mostaccioli is similar in shape without the ridges and I use that anytime penne is unavailable for any reason.
I have successfully used mini penne.
Bowties and regular macaroni seem to disintegrate in the sauce. I think they are probably just too small.
If you wanted to use either of these, I might serve the sauce on top rather than mixed into one pot.
I love onions in my beef goulash. I find onions on plates in the sink sometimes after serving this dinner, so perhaps I use too many onions or they are cut too big for some people.
You could certainly reduce the amount of onions in this recipe, but I wouldn’t completely omit them.
Longer simmering or smaller dice would reduce the size of onions in this dish.
This can be halved or doubled with no problems. I always make the whole batch because leftovers do well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days and make great lunches.
I add grated parmesan cheese straight out of the big green can right into the sauce.
This serves to flavor the sauce and it helps thicken the whole dish after the pasta has been added.
Shredded parmesan can be substituted, however, it will be just a bit more stringy.
Since this is intended to be a quick weeknight meal I don’t add a whole lot of other ingredients.
My other pasta meat sauce recipe definitely needs some time to simmer for the flavors to develop.
To reheat leftovers just put it on a plate or a bowl and microwave it for a couple of minutes.
For serving as another dinner during the week, I place the leftovers into a greased baking pan, cover it with mozzarella cheese and bake it at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
While it’s baking I whip up some garlic bread and pop it right into the oven during the last 10 minutes of reheating.
Make a quick salad and you can have a second dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Faster than delivery!
You could get even get super fancy and add some spoonfuls of ricotta cheese to the leftovers before reheating.
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Quick and Easy Beef Goulash
- Brown ground beef in a saucepot over medium-high heat, stirring to break up beef as it cooks.
- Unless you are using a ground beef high in fat, leave the liquid in the pan. If you have a large amount of fat, drain some of the grease out of the pan before proceeding.
- Add the onions to the hamburger and cook over medium-high heat until onion pieces have started to soften. About 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to simmer until pasta is cooked.
- While sauce is simmering, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain the water from the pasta, but do not rinse.
- Immediately add pasta to sauce and stir until well combined.
- Add parmesan cheese to pasta and mix well.
- Remove from heat and serve.