Easy Weekday Meal: One Pot Penne Pasta Dinner

We can't make elaborate Sunday dinners everyday, but that doesn't mean we can't make something hearty and flavorful! With a few ingredients, and one pot, you can have a great meal that can feed an army. Say goodbye to "ho-hum" Hamburger Helper, and get some fresh homemade flavors with the same ease. I pieced this recipe together from classic pasta recipes to create something simple and effective, something ever busy family would want. I call it, my One Pot Pasta Dinner:

Cara's One Pot Pasta Dinner

- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 2 cups Button Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1, 24oz. jar Marinara Sauce
- 2 cups or 1, 14.5oz. box of Penne Pasta (I use Barilla Plus Penne Pasta)
- 1/2 cup Red Wine
- 2 cups Water
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Parsley, chopped for garnish

Heat olive oil in large Dutch Oven style pot, over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, beef, salt and pepper and cook until beef, onions are translucent, and mushrooms are reduced in size. Add marinara sauce, water, and red wine and briefly stir to combine. Add pasta and mix into sauce mixture until almost all noodles are submerged. Cook uncovered for about 12-15 minutes, depending on pasta cooking times. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure pasta does not stick to the bottom or to each other. Most of the saucy water will be absorbed by the pasta, constributing to it's flavor and leaving a reduced sauce. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves at least 6.

Cooking tips: You can use lean ground beef, regular ground beef, even italian sausage if you'd like, feel free to get creative with it. Also, I find many store bought marinara sauces to be under-seasoned, so you could definitely jazz it up with some herbs and spices like garlic, parsley, basil, or some Italian seasoning. If you don't have penne pasta handy, you could also use rotini, rigatoni, elbow pasta, or any other short pasta except orzo... just be sure to observe the cooking time on your pasta packaging and check your cooking pasta towards the end so you don't overcook it. Oh and Garlic bread goes great with this dish, you can even use the frozen kind in your supermarket freezer isle (that's what I do).

You'll win your family over with this one. Soak in all the silence, smiles, and frantic clinking forks at your dinner table while they gobble up this hearty goodness.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I just found your blog on your profile at bakespace.com. This looks delicious! I love pasta and make it quite often!