This easy ground beef pasta comes together quickly and is full of delicious cheesy flavor. This is a comforting meal that the whole family will love!
Note: This recipe was updated on 03/12/21 – beef broth was removed from the ingredient list, and reserved pasta water was added.
Please tell us that we’re not the only ones craving allllll of the comfort food during quarantine?! The amount of carbs, cheese, and sweets we’ve eaten over these past few weeks has been, umm…eye-opening, to say the least. We’ve decided to be kind to ourselves, though, and you should too during these difficult times – eat what you crave (with some greens thrown in there too, for good measure!) For us, that means this easy, cheesy ground beef pasta. I’ve been making this dish for several months now and I’ve tinkered with it enough to present to you the final winning recipe. This dish couldn’t be simpler or more comforting, and as a bonus, it’s made with simple pantry ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. It’s also toddler approved (Chloe LOVES this meal!) Let’s get cooking!
CHEESY GROUND BEEF PASTA INGREDIENTS
- Pasta: Shells (we used medium shells for the photos in this post) are our favorite for this dish because they are shaped perfectly to create little pools of the delicious sauce 🙂 However, whatever type you have on hand will work perfectly! We also love penne, cavatelli, bowties, and elbows.
- Ground beef: We typically use 80/20 ground beef.
- Onion & garlic: Staples in almost every dish…you can’t beat these flavors!
- Liquids: Plain tomato sauce creates the base for a delicious sauce, and pasta water loosens up the sauce later if needed.
- Flour: Just a little bit of flour allows the sauce to thicken nicely.
- Diced tomatoes & green chilies: We love the little bites of tomato, and the chilies add a nice kick (without being overly spicy).
- Seasonings: Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.
- Cheeses: Freshly grated sharp cheddar is our favorite, but feel free to use what you have on hand. Also, a few tablespoons of cream cheese make the sauce luxuriously creamy and even cheesier!
HOW TO MAKE CHEESY GROUND BEEF PASTA
- First, cook your pasta: Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil, add your pasta, then cook till al dente. While the pasta is cooking, reserve 1.5 cups of the starchy pasta water and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking: Cook your ground beef in a sauté pan, being sure to break it up well. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Drain off any excess fat from the pan.
- Sauté the veggies and start the sauce base: Cook the onion and garlic until soft, season with Italian seasoning, then whisk in the flour.
- Add the liquid: Carefully stir in the tomato sauce, then let everything bubble few minutes.
- Melt the cream cheese: Add in the cream cheese, and stir until it’s melted into the sauce.
- Combine other ingredients: Stir in the tomatoes and diced chilies and the cooked ground beef.
- Add the shredded cheese & pasta: Add the grated cheese and carefully stir in until it’s fully combined and melted. Gently stir in the pasta; add some of your reserved pasta water if needed to loosen up the sauce.
- Serve and enjoy: Top with more shredded cheese if desired (there’s no such thing as too much cheese!) and serve!
NOTES AND SUGGESTIONS
- This recipe is very forgiving, so as mentioned above…use whichever pasta and cheese you have on hand.
- Feel free to omit the tomatoes and diced green chilis if you don’t care for them or don’t have them. I’ve used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes in the past also – yummy!
- Make sure you use a large sauté pan or dutch oven to combine this all together in.
We hope you love this easy, cheesy dish as much as we do!
EASY, CHEESY GROUND BEEF PASTA
- 1 lb pasta shells are our favorite!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 10 ounce can tomatoes and diced green chilies drained of their juices
- 2 Tablespoons cream cheese diced into small pieces
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Reserved pasta water (as needed)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until it's al dente. When it's finished, drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the ground beef, being sure to break it up well as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Drain off any excess fat from the pan.
- Sauté the onion and garlic in the same pan until the onion is soft and translucent. Whisk in the Italian seasoning, then whisk in the flour. Whisk for one minute until it's fully mixed in.
- Carefully stir in the tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and let it bubble for 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the cream cheese, and stir until it's fully melted into the sauce.
- Stir in the drained tomatoes and diced chilies, and the cooked ground beef.
- Add the grated cheese and carefully stir in until it's fully combined and melted. Gently stir in the cooked pasta. Add in some of the reserved pasta water (if needed) to thin the sauce out a little.
- Top with more shredded cheese if desired (there's no such thing as too much cheese!) and freshly cracked black pepper, and serve!
This recipe was inspired by Damn Delicious.
If you’re looking for some other quick pantry-friendly meals, try our:
Sheet Pan Sausage, Potatoes, and Peppers
What foods have you and your family been turning to in this pandemic? Are you all about the comfort foods like we are?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? ♥️
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