Creamy Tomato Macaroni Beef – Jumbo elbow macaroni and beef is tossed with a creamy tomato sauce. It’s a perfect meal for weeknight dinners!
Today’s recipe is for a meal that we’ve been loving at home lately. It’s similar to the Hamburger Helper dish you may have had as a kid, but obviously a little heathier since the ingredients aren’t as processed.
This Creamy Tomato Macaroni Beef is savory, hearty, creamy and, without a doubt, will make your tummy happy. And if you have picky kids at home, (like I do), then this will sure be the dish that wins them over.
Here is my Creamy Tomato Macaroni Beef!
Making this meal
The great part of this dish (aside from it’s taste) is that it is ready in under 30 minutes. This makes it a great candidate for a weeknight meal. See? Quick meals don’t have to be boring!
To start of the recipe, cook the pasta is salted water until al dente. The salted water helps season the pasta from the inside out. But be careful not to season the sauce and beef too much until after the pasta is added. This will ensure it’s not too salty.
While the pasta is cooking, let’s make the sauce. First the beef is cooked. This is the first step because it helps lay a base beef flavor in the skillet. Once the beef is cooked, it’s removed from the skillet and set aside for the final step.
The onions are then added to the hot skillet, along with olive oil, to soften them up a bit. Minced garlic and Italian seasoning are then added to cook for 30 seconds.
After the veggies are cooked, the roux is made to help thicken up the sauce. It’s then cooked for about 1 minute to cook off the flour taste. Then, beef broth and tomato sauce is slowly whisked into the roux. This is done slowly to ensure no lumps form. The mixture is then brought to a boil to reduce for about 6 minutes.
Finally, half and half is added and stirred into the mixture. The cooked pasta and beef are added and then stirred into the sauce.
Wait, no cheese?!
Yup that’s right – no cheese in this recipe at all. There are similar recipes out there that load up this type of recipe with cheese at the end, but the creamy tomato sauce really stands well on it’s own that it doesn’t need any cheese. In fact, I find that the cheese makes the dish TOO rich. So there is no need to add it.
Tips & Tricks
- Cook pasta al dente. Do not overcook the pasta. You want the shape and texture to hold up so it grabs onto the sauce.
- Lean beef. I’ve made this dish with both lean ground beef and 85/15 beef and I see no difference. So I use lean beef to make this slightly healthier. If you decide to use fattier beef, you need to drain out the excess fat after it’s cooked.
- Slowly add tomato sauce and broth. Add the liquids slowly to the roux will ensure the mixture gets thick without any lumps.
- Tomato sauce. For this recipe, I used a flavorful tomato sauce, like tomato basil. This is important because it reduces the amount of other seasonings you’ll need.
Creamy Tomato Macaroni Beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 pound raw lean ground beef
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ medium white onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 12 ounces tomato basil pasta sauce
- ¾ cup half and half
- 8 ounces jumbo elbow macaroni with ridges cooked al dente
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a larget skillet and set over medium heat. Add lean ground to pan and break up into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until it turns brown. Remove beef from pan and set aside in a medium bowl.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil and diced onions to the skillet and keep at medium heat. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Stir and let cook for 30 seconds.
- Add flour and whisk together with veggies. Cook until light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in beef broth and then tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Add cream and stir together.
- Finally, add the pasta and beef and stir together until combined. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn off. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Serve.