I started making this a few years ago for my son Benji. His favorite recipe of mine had always been my pasta with meat sauce and meatballs, but that is a whole patchka! In recent years, Benji became very interested in ordering when he went out to a good Italian restaurant, but he said he was always disappointed because it just “didn’t compare to your meatsauce and meatballs!” So I needed to come up with a quick recipe to achieve the same taste as my meatsauce and meatball recipe. When I made it the first time, he loved it. When he was away in the Marshall Islands for a year, he sent me an email with a list of all the things he wanted me to make when he came home. This beefaroni was on that list. Now that we’re home due to Coronavirus, this beefaroni was the perfect thing to make- total comfort food for Benji!
4 Tbs. olive oil or other oil
1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, minced
6-8 garlic cloves minced
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
1 or 1 1/2 or even 2 lbs. chopped meat, depending on how meaty you want your sauce to be
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I like Cento)
2 small cans tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
about 1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
scant teaspoon sugar
1 lb. pasta, preferably elbows
grated parmesan for serving
In pot, saute chopped onions in 4 tablespoons light olive oil till translucent. Then add chopped garlic and saute till softened. Add about 1/2 teasp or to taste of crushed red pepper flakes. Add chopped beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute over low flame- break up. I use a potato masher to make sure pieces of beef are broken up and evenly distributed with onion and garlic.
Just stir till beef is no longer pink. I use a spoon to take about 4-6 Tbs. of oil out of pan. Add all tomato product. Add oregano. Add sugar. Simmer over low flame about 30 min. cover on. If too thick, add 1 cup water. Simmer about 30 – 45 min. more, adding more salt, pepper as needed. after about 30 min. add 1 cup water. cooks about 45 min more.. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, and more oregano if you wish. If you think the sauce is too thin, then take cover off, and simmer to reduce a bit.
Cook 1 lb. Elbows till al dente. Drain and add to sauce. Mix and serve with grated parmesan or romano and crushed red pepper flakes.