First I want to begin with a stern warning – this recipe will make a mountain of goulash. It you need to feed a crowd or want to bring something simple to a pot luck, this is the dish to make. If not, plan on left overs.
Hubby love the simplicity of this dish. Uncomplicated meals is what he likes best. Straight forward without a lot of fancy stuff. The fanciest thing about the goulash casserole is the splash of curly parsley added just before serving. If I had this dish to do over again, I would start it in a really big dutch oven. My skillet was great for the meat, but not big enough to mix everything together. Then again, I love browning meats in my cast iron skillet, so maybe I’d just dirty another really large bowl for mixing. I have a bowl I use when I make my stuffings. I swear, you could bath a baby in this thing. Love to mix whatever in it because you can toss till the cows come home and nothing falls out of the deep basin.
Another great use for this simple recipe would be to make two casseroles – one to bake right away, the other to pop in the freezer for another night. I love any excuse for a dinner that lets me serve up fresh baked breads or dinner rolls. I’m a sucker for any kind of bread slathered with lots and lots of creamy butter. It’s my biggest weakness. That and pastas and cakes and anything else that I should not be eating.
Ground Beef Goulash Casserole
1 lb uncooked Elbow Macaroni
1 medium White Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 lb Ground Beef
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian Seasonings
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
2 (8 oz) cans Tomato Paste
1/2 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 bunch Curly Parsley, optional garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot boil pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside. While the macaroni cooks, peel and finely dice the onion. Set aside. Peel the garlic cloves, set aside with the onions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion and ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease if necessary. Stir in the Oregano, Italian Seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves, grate directly into the meat mixture. Simmer about 1 minute longer.
Spread about half of the pasta into a 4-quart casserole dish. Spoon about half of the meat mixture over the pasta in the dish, stir to blend. This should give plenty of room in the skillet to mix the remaining pasta with the sauce. Once mixed, pour into the casserole dish. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
Place in the heated oven and bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with dried parsley. If desired, tuck fresh parsley around the edge of the casserole for a fancy presentation.
This is great with warm bread. Just be sure to leave room for a salad if you like.