Pasta Shells with Ground Beef
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PASTA SHELLS WITH GROUND BEEF

Pasta Shells with Ground Beef

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Pasta Shells with Ground Beef is a delicious and comforting dish that’s perfect for a quick and easy dinner. This recipe combines flavorful ground beef, tender pasta shells, and a mix of savory seasonings to create a meal that’s sure to please the whole family. Here’s how to make it.

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Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds ground beef: Provides the hearty base for the dish.
  • 4 cups water: Used to cook the pasta shells.
  • Red Sazon and/or Sazon Perfecta, for seasoning: Adds a vibrant color and rich flavor to the dish (see notes for alternatives).
  • ¼ cup olive oil: Used for cooking the ground beef and vegetables.
  • Black pepper, to taste: Adds a bit of heat and seasoning.
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes: Adds a spicy and tangy tomato flavor.
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta shells: The star of the dish, these pasta shells cook up tender and absorb the flavors of the sauce.
  • 4 tablespoons granulated tomato broth: Adds a rich tomato flavor to the dish.
  • 2 tablespoons granulated chicken broth: Enhances the savory depth of the dish.
  • 3 minced serrano chili peppers: Adds a spicy kick (adjust to taste).
  • ½ chopped yellow onion: Adds sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • Garlic powder, to taste: Enhances the overall flavor.
  • Onion powder, to taste: Adds additional flavor.
  • 1 bay leaf: Adds a subtle earthy flavor.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley: For garnish and a fresh burst of flavor.

Instructions

1. Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Chop the Vegetables: Mince the serrano chili peppers and chop the yellow onion and fresh parsley.

2. Cook the Ground Beef

  1. Heat the Olive Oil: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the Ground Beef: Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
  3. Season: Season the beef with black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste.

3. Sauté the Vegetables

  1. Add the Onion and Peppers: Add the chopped yellow onion and minced serrano chili peppers to the pot. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and fragrant.

4. Add the Liquid Ingredients

  1. Add Water and Broth Powders: Pour in the 4 cups of water, granulated tomato broth, and granulated chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  2. Add Rotel Tomatoes: Stir in the can of Rotel tomatoes.

5. Cook the Pasta

  1. Add the Pasta Shells: Stir in the uncooked pasta shells.
  2. Add Bay Leaf: Add the bay leaf to the pot.
  3. Season with Sazon: Add Red Sazon and/or Sazon Perfecta seasoning to taste.
  4. Bring to a Boil: Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Simmer: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the pasta shells are tender and have absorbed the flavors of the broth.

6. Finish and Serve

  1. Remove Bay Leaf: Remove the bay leaf from the pot.
  2. Garnish: Stir in the chopped fresh parsley.
  3. Serve: Ladle the pasta shells and ground beef into bowls and serve hot. Enjoy with a side salad or crusty bread for a complete meal.

Cook’s Tips and Variations

Tips:

  • Adjust Spiciness: If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of serrano chili peppers or omit them altogether.
  • Broth Substitutes: If you don’t have granulated tomato or chicken broth, you can use bouillon cubes or paste dissolved in water.
  • Leftovers: This dish reheats well. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Variations:

  1. Cheesy Pasta Shells: Stir in a cup of shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese during the last few minutes of cooking for a creamy, cheesy version.
  2. Vegetable Additions: Add other vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach for added nutrition and flavor.
  3. Herb Variation: Substitute fresh cilantro for parsley if you prefer its flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use a different type of pasta?

A: Yes, you can use any small pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini.

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Q: Is there a vegetarian version of this recipe?

A: Yes, you can substitute the ground beef with a plant-based ground meat alternative or additional vegetables like mushrooms and bell peppers.

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Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time?

A: Yes, this dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

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Q: Can I freeze this dish?

A: Yes, you can freeze this dish. Allow it to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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Pasta Shells with Ground Beef is a simple and delicious meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights or when you need a comforting dish. With its savory flavors and hearty ingredients, this dish is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re looking for a quick dinner solution or a comforting meal to share with loved ones, Pasta Shells with Ground Beef is the perfect choice. Try making this recipe today and enjoy a bowl of deliciousness!

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