Not Your Old School Goulash
There are a great many meals that I remember eating as a child, that people in my family swore were staples of the kitchen menu. Meatloaf, Shepard's pie, Chicken and gravy, we like to call them throwback recipes and we are back with another!
Goulash, chop suey, pasta and meat-sauce (super ew) Actually when I typed "meatsauce" as a single word, autocorrected changed it to mistake and that says it all to me.
This savory pasta dish is has so much more potential than plain old sautéed ground beef, sauce from a can and boiled noodles. That potential is cream cheese and cooking the pasta in the sauce.
You are very much encouraged to use one very large pan for this entire ordeal. In this case you cook the ground beef and pork combination, diced onion first, until ALMOST done, even halfway done is okay, then remove for a brief rest while the rest comes together.
In a crockpot, I supposed you could toss this entire thing in and cook on LOW for 8 hours, but I do not trust crockpots, I know, I know. So, I have to do it all myself. Speaking of, I also think that if you're feeling really good about yourself, you could use my recipe for homemade marinara sauce, and make that ahead of time. That's how we do it!
After our ground beef combination is sautéed and set aside, we're going to pour into that large pan our sauce of choice, then fill the sauce jar with water two times, adding it to the pan.
Add in the uncooked pasta, Italian seasoning, and bring to bubbling on MEDIUM, covered. You will need to stir occasionally. After the sauce begins to thicken around the pasta, add back in the ground beef combo, thoroughly stir it into the sauce and return to cooking on MEDIUM, covered.
While you wait for ground beef to finish cooking, diced up 3/4 brick of cream cheese. Slowly add the cream cheese to the dish and stir, it will take a few minutes to completly blend, so just keep gently mixing until you get a nice blended consistency.
You are welcome to add a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese and mix that in as well, we always do, and you can go Kraft shake style, or fresh, whatever is at your access because you're going to like it either way.
If you crave a redder, more marinara looking sauce, you can add more sauce and cook for a few more minutes at the same temperature. Cream cheese will lighten the sauce, but not the flavor so don't panic at the color. I will disclose that I add the extra marinara, because my brain tells me to.
Finish with a creamy, saucy, cheesy meal. Sprinkle it with parsley and more parm, because are we kidding? And enjoy!
3/4 lb. ground beef (the leaner the better)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 jars of marinara sauce OR my own marinara recipe
3/4 a brick of cream cheese
parmesan cheese, to your taste
2 TBSP Italian seasoning, divided in half for sauce and ground beef/pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 diced yellow onion
2 TSP dried thyme
parsley, to season
Begin by using a very large pan, sauté a combination of ground beef and ground pork, on LOW/MEDIUM for about 5 minutes, not completely
Remove the ground beef combination and let rest
Into the same pan, add the full jar of marinara sauce and then fill the jar twice with water and add to the pan
Pour in the uncooked* pasta, stir and then heat on MEDIUM, covered for 8-10 minutes
Once the pasta is nearly cooked, add back in the ground beef, stir it in and continue cooking covered
Add in the cubes on cream cheese and stir that in
You can also add parmesan cheese now and stir
Leave the cover off for the remainder of cooking to help the sauce get fragrant and thicken, turn the heat down to as low as possible
If you desire a more red sauce, you can add more sauce and stir again but let it heat up
Finish with parsley, more parmesan cheese and enjoy!