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Close up of cooked American Goulash. Pasta, Tomato Sauce, and Ground Beef.

American Goulash

Easy 30 Minute Recipe for "Pasta and Beef." 

Servings 6


  • Salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Hunt's tomato sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • 4-6 ounces cheddar cheese grated (about 1 1/2 cups) optional


  1. Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Set a colander in the sink for draining the pasta. When the water reaches a boil, add salt, about two teaspoons, and the pasta. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, then stir occasionally while the pasta cooks.
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and aromatic.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until thoroughly cooked and browned, about four minutes. If desired, remove and discard any excess fat.
  4. Stir the tomato sauce into the beef. Reduce heat to low. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed. (This is a good time to check the pasta if you haven’t already.)
  5. After about 10 minutes of boiling, check the pasta for doneness. Drain the pasta in the colander and return it to the cooking pot.
  6. Add the meat sauce to the pasta and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. If using cheese, add it, one handful at a time, stirring between each addition until the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve with additional sauce, optional.

Recipe Notes

Love Sauce?

If you love your pasta with lots of sauce, pick up a small (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce. Heat it gently, either in a microwave-safe cup or on the stovetop in a small pan, and serve alongside the pasta.