Pasta and Beef Casserole

This is another one pot dish, chock full of veggies.  Although the prep is a little longer than some of the other recipes I’ve been posting, it makes a TON, so it’s worth your while!  It will probably make two 9 x 13 pans.  So bake one now, and freeze one for later! It’s a win win!  Of course, you can always halve the recipe for less chopping, but I say double up now!

A friend of mine gave me a version of this many years ago, and it’s always a hit. I hope you enjoy it!

pasta and beef casserole 4

Pasta and Beef Casserole

1 lb. small shape pasta, like shells, cooked and drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced small

3 stalks celery, diced

1 lb. white mushrooms, cut into chunks

10 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

2 cloves garlic, minced (fresh or frozen)

3 lbs. lean chopped meat

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil, or 1 1/2 tsp. dried

1/2 C. beef or chicken stock, or water

1 tsp. salt

1 C. flavored bread crumbs

Prep all the ingredients before you get started, and the dish comes together quickly.

Pasta and Beef casserole 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large saute pan, heat oil.  Add onions and celery and saute for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes, until mushrooms release their liquid and it begins to evaporate.

Pasta and beef casserole 2

Add the garlic and spinach, and saute another minute.  Add in ground beef, and using a wooden spatula, or spoon, stir the meat, breaking up the pieces, until the meat is mostly browned.  Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes (with their liquid).  Add in the basil, stock and salt.

pasta and beef casserole 3

Heat the mixture thoroughly.  Combine meat mixture with the pasta.

pasta and beef casserole 5

Pour into any desired casserole dish, or an aluminum pan.  You will need 2.  Sprinkle the top of each casserole with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  You may bake it uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the top gets crispy.  Bake one now, and cover the second tightly with foil, place in a ziplock bag, and freeze for another time.