After being sick and not able to eat real food, along with this cold weather…put me in the mood for some comfort food! I found that if I just made mac ‘n’ cheese it would not be satisfying as a meal, needed something more! I thought some ground beef would go great with it! I can’t believe I am admitting this, but once upon a time I loved Hamburger Helper! Yes me!
Growing up with a working mom, you learn how to cook at a young age, but you need some help….that is when that came in handy among other convenient food items! Beefy Noodles was my favourite! Truth is, if someone offered me a bowl right now, I probably wouldn’t say no to the offer, I mean its not a bad thing! Just wish the ingredient list wasn’t all so bad.
Now, this is no diet food that’s for sure, so if your looking to cut on calories…good luck! This is a dish that is meant for comforting, and its oh so delicious!
I never made a sauce with out melting some butter first and basically make a rue, so if you know if added flour to milk works just fine, and I mean tastes just as good, let me know!:)
What you will need:
- 450 gr bag of small shell pasta (half a bag of 900 gr)
- 2 cups old cheddar cheese – grated
- 1/2 cup old cheddar cheese- grated (for garnish)
- 2 cups plus more of 1% or 2% milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste ( I use Alpino in a tube)
- Salt to season
- 1 tsp mustard
- Pinch of Paprika
Bring the shells to boil, (I do add a bit of salt to the water pasta tastes better that way). Start on the sauce, melt butter and add the olive oil, whisk in the flour and pour in the milk, if it gets clumpy keep whisking or blend with hand blender till nice and smooth.
Cook on low heat, stirring often.
When thickened remove from heat and add in the grated cheddar cheese, mustard, add the paprika, season with salt. If its too thick stir in some more milk until it becomes a a creamy consistency.
Drain pasta, and set aside.
Chop onion and fry in pan with a little olive oil, add in the tomato paste and cook till onions are softened. Add in ground beef and break into small chunks. Season with salt.
If your using a cast iron pan, prepare pan ahead while your cooking the sauce and meat, by preheating the oven at 400 degrees, place pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven, its very hot! Pour some olive oil and using a tong and paper towel, spread the oil around, that way the pasta will not stick to the pan.
If your using a regular Pyrex pan or Casserole dish, then I would just lightly grease the pan.
Combine the cheese sauce and pasta, pour over in the pan. Cover with the seasoned ground beef, and sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 till cheese melts, takes about 5 minutes, my pan was already hot so didn’t take long at all!