I have been wondering when I would be able to have enough time to cook and then write something worth reading. In my defense, I can say that I have been pretty busy teaching courses at the local community college and learning Spanish (the most fun I have had learning a language, thank you DuoLingo) and have finally made the time to cook and write something new. However, if you have been following the previous posts, I, unfortunately, have not completed my cabbage stuffing quest (stuffing every kind of cabbage I know) and still have red cabbage left on the agenda. I have the recipe in mind but have not committed myself to doing the cooking as most of the cabbage recipes can be a bit labor intensive. Today’s recipe is a twist on a comfort food from my youth. The recipe is easy and makes enough to feed an army. Well, maybe not a whole army but I know it did pretty well for me and my 3 brothers and sister growing up. The dish has many different names, beef goulash, beef and macaroni casserole, American goulash but we always knew it as American Chop Suey. I wanted to twist the recipe without breaking its simplicity and keep it as an homage to my and probably everyone else’s past. Without further delay, here is the recipe.
New Twist ACS – (American “Chop Suey”)
Gary Bechard – The Well Fed Cyclist
1 lb – Cavatapi (macaroni or any short pasta that suits your fancy, I use Barilla)
2 – 23 ounce jars of smooth spaghetti sauce (a nice marinara or tomato and basil) or you can use some homemade sauce you may have already made.
1 ½ lbs – Ground beef (I use 90/10 ground sirloin)
3 – Cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 – Yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 – Green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 – Medium, sweet onion, chopped
2 oz – Sliced black olives (one small can of pre-sliced)
3/4 tsp – Sea Salt
1 tsp – Coarse ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Just enough to do a couple of turns around the skillet
Construction Instruction – In a very large skillet, one that has a lid, do a couple of turns around the pan with the extra virgin olive oil and bring to medium heat. Next, add the minced garlic and sauté until tender while making sure it does not turn brown as that would cause it to become bitter. After the garlic is done, add the ground beef. Brown the beef and season it with the sea salt and black pepper. When the ground beef is fully browned, move to the outside of the skillet (kind of like a doughnut look), put the peppers and onions in the center and sauté until soft then fold them in with the ground beef making sure everything is mixed evenly. Once that is done add the sliced olives and thoroughly mix again. After completing the mixture, add the 2 jars of sauce, stirring the sauce through the mixture, lower the heat to low and cover. Make sure to stir occasionally to keep the temperature even.
In a large pot, prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box being sure to cook only to “al dente” (nobody likes mushy pasta). Drain the pasta thoroughly and put back into the pot, take the sauce mixture and add to the pasta and fold everything together until ingredients are evenly distributed. At this point you can keep this on the stove on low, stirring occasionally until you are ready to eat or serve it right away.
Serve this with some good Parmesan or Romano cheese, or go wild and have both! I served this along side fresh sliced cucumbers.
The Well Fed Cyclist