Imagine a low calorie pasta dish with robust flavor, fresh ingredients and a pack of protein. Yep, yep and yep. This has it all.
Nothing says “comfort food” like a goulash-type casserole. This particular casserole has the aforementioned delightful spins, though, that make it even more appealing in my book. It is a tested recipe from the March issue of Cooking Light magazine. I’ll list all the nutrition information at the bottom of the post.
For ease of preparation and bursts of flavor, this one just can’t be beat. Let’s get going!
GROUND BEEF AND PASTA CASSEROLE
(recipe by Cooking Light magazine) Serves 6
- 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3″ pieces
- 1 TBL olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 TBL dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 lb. extra-lean ground sirloin
- 3 1/2 C. unsalted chicken stock
- 6 TBL sliced fresh basil, divided
- 2 TBL unsalted tomato paste
- 1 TBL red wine vinegar
- 12 oz. uncooked chiocciole or rigatoni
- 1 (26.46oz.) carton strained tomatoes (such as Pomi)
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8″ thick slices
- 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 C.)
Let me insert here that I had to make three substitutions:
Basil-the grocery store fresh basil looked yellow. I used some garden basil which I dried from my garden last year. (Yum!) Since I had to make this change, I REDUCED the amount of basil to 2 TBL to account for the difference in water and air content for fresh vs. dry.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-I’ll admit I just didn’t look for it. I used Parmesan cheese from the can *gasp*.
Tomatoes-I couldn’t find the tomatoes listed above. I used this instead:
They worked perfectly!
- Place onions in a food processor ( I used a blender); pulse until finely chopped. Add carrots; pulse until finely chopped.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat a large, high-sided saute’ pan over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add onion mixture; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, red pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add beef; cook 5 minutes. Stir in stock, 4 TBL basil, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 13 minutes or until pasta is almost done, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.
4. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Arrange sliced mozzarella over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano; bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until pasta is done. Sprinkle with remaining 2 TBL basil.
I hope you give this a try-you will not be disappointed!
Nutrition breakdown for 1 of 6 servings:
- Calories 469
- Protein 32 g
- Carb. 57 g
- Fiber 8 g
- Sugar 11 g
- Iron 4 mg
- Sodium 480 mg
- Chol. 58 mg
- Fat 12.7 g (5.2 saturated)
- Mono 3.4 g
- Poly 0.7 g
- Calcium 2.9 mg