Sunday, August 1, 2010

Living Up to My Expectations: The Perfect Hamburger Macaroni

Hamburger macaroni was one of the first recipes I searched for when I got into food blogging. It isn't a dish I grew up eating, but I always thought it looked so good. But despite my best efforts and several bookmarks, I never made any of the recipes I found. Why? Because I knew what I was looking for and it was clear that none of the recipes I found had it.

Based on the recipes I found, I realized that my take on Hamburger Macaroni might not be exactly the traditional. But I wanted it the way I always THOUGHT it would, or should, taste like. Flavorful, a little cheesy, a little spicy, and hearty. So I took the best of the recipes I had found to use as a guide and put together this: The Perfect Hamburger Macaroni.

The Perfect Hamburger Macaroni
4 servings

1 Tablespoon oil
½ cup Diced Onion (about half a medium onion)
3 cloves garlic
14.5 ounce can roasted tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon italian seasoning mix
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
dash of paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
¾ cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar (+ ½ cup for topping, if desired)
1 lb. Ground Beef or equivalent Vegetarian Crumbles
1 lb. Small Pasta (like elbow macaroni, medium shells, or anything else of similar size)

If using ground beef, brown in a large skillet. Drain and set aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions and set aside.

Heat oil in the skillet.

Add onion and cook until soft.

Add garlic and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add roasted tomatoes and tomato paste to pan. Stir to blend paste into tomato liquid.

Add italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, paprika, and salt and pepper if desired. Stir to combine.

Mix cooked ground beef or vegetarian crumbles into tomatoes.

Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

Mix in shredded cheese. Once cheese melts into the sauce combine with cooked pasta.

If desired, top with another ½ cup shredded cheese and transfer to oven just until cheese melts.

For more great pastas check out this weeks Presto Pasta Nights- I'll post the link as soon as the dished are posted.


  1. What an original idea. They look so good!

  2. OMG! This brings back such memories for me. As a young teenager, my best friend and I lived for Hamburger Helper's Chili Macaroni mix. When our parents were out for the night, and we were left to cook for ourselves, this was what we always longed for. I haven't had it in eons. I don't even know if they make it anymore. But wow, at that age, it was something special. ;)

  3. Great pasta night recipe, looks and sounds great, not too much of anything wrecking the recipe. Thanks so much, will get back to you with the hubby's review.

  4. Wow!!!Macaroni is my very favorite one,i just love to try this with varies type coz my hubby love to have this one for breakfast... this evening me gonna try ur recipe...

  5. I think every household has their own variation to this hamburger macaroni recipe, I know in my kitchen it is a once a week meal. And we change it up here and there a bit. Gonna give yours a try next week, see what the family thinks. As long as they get it they are happy and probably won't even notice the changes, (unappreciated cook/mom/wife that I am).

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