Today’s dinner feature is a child-friendly Macaroni and Beef Casserole. You can’t beat beef, seasoned with a bit of ground cumin, and just the right amount of chopped veggies and delicious cheddar cheese. Everyone in the family will request seconds with this dish that goes from prep to table in about 45 minutes. Add a fresh salad and you’ll have a wonderful meal. Healthy and joyous eating!
Macaroni and Beef Casserole (Recipe courtesy Justin Chapple)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain well and transfer the macaroni to a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and toss well.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cumin and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook until no floury taste remains. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer until thickened, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the macaroni, cream, parsley and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a large ceramic baking dish about 2 inches deep. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese and panko on top. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes. Scatter the scallions on top and serve. Serving yield = eight servings.