If you're looking for an easy-to-make, delicious comfort food recipe, you will love American Goulash.
Perfectly cooked ground beef cooked in a deliciously spiced tomato sauce, with tender pasta, and topped with Cheddar cheese.
American Goulash is quite different from Hungarian Goulash, a beef and onion stew. And another great recipe for the colder seasons.
PASTA - Elbow macaroni works best for this recipe. Prepare according to the package instructions while the goulash is simmering.
OIL - Use vegetable oil to saute the beef, garlic, and onions. Alternatively, you can use canola oil or even olive oil.
BEEF - I like 90/10 ground beef best, but you can also use 80/20, 85/15, or 96/4 if you prefer very lean ground beef.
GARLIC and ONION - Use your favorite onion. Both sweet onion and sweet onion work well, and a bit of minced garlic.
SOY SAUCE - This adds a bit of umami to the goulash! Unless you have someone with a soy allergy in the family, don't skip it.
PAPRIKA - I recommend using sweet Hungarian paprika. The flavors go very well with some of the more savory flavors.
RED WINE - I generally use the wine we are drinking for cooking. I've never been a huge fan of cheap cooking wine, and for this recipe, you'll only need a third of a cup anyway.
BELL PEPPER - Red bell pepper adds both flavor and texture.
TOMATOES - Add cans of diced tomatoes and tomato purée.
CHEDDAR - Add most of the shredded cheese to the sauce after adding the cooked macaroni. Use the remaining cheese for garnish.
I encourage you to buy a block of cheddar and grate it yourself rather than buying a bag of grated cheddar. You'll find that it'll work out to be less expensive, more delicious, and melt much better.
How To Make American Goulash
- BROWN - ground beef, onions, and garlic.
- ADD - Paprika, soy sauce, red wine, strained tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and bay leaves.
- SIMMER - Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- PASTA - Stir in cooked pasta and cheese. Reserve 2 tablespoons of cheese. Once the cheese has melted, serve immediately. Drizzle with remaining Cheddar cheese.
Recipe Success Tips
You can make American Goulash as a one-pot meal. In which case, you'd cook the pasta in the sauce.
I don't do that. While one-pot pasta dinners are great in theory, I've never been a fan. Pasta emits starch during the cooking process. That in itself is not a bad thing.
Using a cup of starchy water to make a delicious pasta sauce is a great cooking hack. It's how I make Shrimp Carbonara. But having all that extra starch mixed with the goulash. It just doesn't work for me.
So in this recipe, I cook the pasta separately (according to package instructions). And afterward, add the cooked pasta to the goulash.
More Easy Comfort Food Recipes
Beef Stew - classic, hearty stew recipe.
Easy Cheesy Chicken Parmesan - pure comfort food
Chicken Meatloaf - perfect for quick weeknight dinners
Roasted Lemon Chicken - lemony, savory chicken dinner
Roasted Salmon - versatile dinner
Ground Beef Goulash
- Brown ground beef, onions, and garlic.
- Add paprika, soy sauce, red wine, strained tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in cooked pasta. Add all but 2 tablespoons of Cheddar cheese. Stir until well combined and the cheese has melted. Serve and drizzle with remaining Cheddar cheese.