As many of you know, the hubs favorite food on the planet is Hamburger Helper. Seriously, he loves it. His favorite of all time is the Cheeseburger Macaroni. And when I cook up a meal for him and he really loves it he always asks me with love sparkling in those beautiful green eyes of his, if this is in fact, Hamburger Helper. It’s his equivalent of a 5 star rating. Isn’t he cute? Anyway, since all my boys love that creepy oversized white glove so much I thought I’d toss together an italian version of their favorite meal. Give it a go, it’ll be your favorite too!
Best thing about this dish is you can make it in advance and leave it in the fridge to take out and make when you get home after a long day at the playground and everyone is hungry and tired and you don’t feel like cooking because the dog pulled out the trash can and now you have to clean the kitchen and still give everyone a bath and dinner and all you want to do is pour a big glass of wine and watch who Ali chooses on The Bachelorette and dinner is the last thing on your mind…not that I would know anything about that. This is totally hypothetical, I’m just saying.
Serves: 6 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes
2 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
½ large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomato
1 clove garlic, chopped
8 oz mushrooms sliced thin
½ T dried oregano
1 t dried red pepper flakes
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
3 T butter unsalted
3 T all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set a large pot of water over high heat to boil for your pasta. In large skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot add in onions and mushroom and sautee until soft. About 6 minutes or so. When they are soft add in garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for anadditional minutes. Add in your ground beef and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Once meat has browned toss in the tomato, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Season again with S&P and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Once the milk has thickened add in nutmeg and season with S&P. Reduce to medium low heat and melt in cheddar and swiss cheeses. Allow to cook on low for a few minutes.
When water is boiling season water with salt and add pasta. Note package cooking time and reduce by 2 minutes, the macaroni will continue cooking in the oven later. Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Toss the penne with cheese mixture.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and pour half of the pasta mixture into the bottom of the dish. Spoon the Italian burger mixture over the top in an even layer. Then cover with remaining pasta. Top with additional cheddar cheese if desired. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes and enjoy!