Apologies are in order I think, as the creative juices seem to have run short when I was trying to name this pasta dish. If it makes you think of a casserole from the 70’s I suspect it is because in my head this closely ressembles “Hamburger Helper”, the infamous shortcut product.
…Though, why you would use it after making this recipe is a mystery to me – it really is easy enough already.
For this creamy ground beef pasta you can serve it just stirred together, or transfer it to the oven and treat it like a baked pasta casserole – a handy trick when dinner is delayed by an unexpected visitor. If baking it, reserve yourself some grated cheese and a touch of paprika to sprinkle on top.
Cheesy Burger Rotini(serves 4)
Put a large pot of water on to boil, this will be for cooking the pasta.
While it is coming to a boil, start the sauce. Heat a medium Dutch oven to medium low heat. Add the olive oil, onions and celery. Stir in a pinch of salt and cooked until softened. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the ground beef and stir until cooked through and browned.
Sprinkle the paprika on top and stir it in. At this point you should have about 2-3 tablespoons of fat, if you have more drain and discard. If you have less, add a touch of butter or olive oil. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir in. Slowly stir in the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer.
At this point if your water has boiled, salt it and cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Once the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes slowly stir in the cheese a half a cup at the time until well incorporated. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper. Depending on your kind of salt, cheese and palette the amount will vary but you will probably want about 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
Fold the pasta into the sauce. If you aren't ready to serve it yet you can turn it into a baked pasta by sprinkling with extra cheese and baking in a 350F oven (that's what you see in the photo). Enjoy!