Originating in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, goulash is a stew comprised of meat and vegetables, and seasoned with paprika and other spices of your choice. My version has an Italian flavor and the addition of shell pasta. I had it on the table within 40 minutes, so it’s a great meal for those busy weeknights. Experiment with what you have on hand. No shell pasta? Use elbow macaroni. No dried mushrooms? Substitute a cup of sliced criminis or button mushrooms. It is hearty and delicious, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Mr. O-P looked at me warily when I started putting this together, he a fan of the meal comprised of foods arranged separately on the plate. One taste and it was quickly devoured. My guess is that everyone in your family is going to love it.
1 pound ground chuck
½ large yellow onion, diced
½ green pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2-ounce pkg. Melissa’s Dried Porcini Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-1/2 cups mushroom water (reserved from rehydrating, or low-salt beef stock if using fresh mushrooms)
2/3 cup of your favorite marinara (I used Classico)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne
½ cup red wine
1 cup shell pasta, uncooked
Place dried mushrooms in a 2-cup measuring cup and pour 1-1/2 cups of lukewarm water over them. Set the timer and allow soaking for 30 minutes. At this point chop your garlic and vegetables.
While mushrooms are hydrating, place beef in a 4-quart saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, breaking it up as you do so, until no longer pink. Stir in onion and green pepper. Cook until the vegetables are opaque. Drain on paper towel lined plate.
Return beef mixture to pot and add garlic, marinara, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, paprika, sugar, Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, pepper, and wine. Bring to a boil.
Drain mushrooms through a paper towel lined fine mesh sieve. Pour mushroom water into the pot. Rinse mushrooms thoroughly, rough chop, and add to the pot. Cover pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add pasta, stirring in well. Cover pot and simmer on medium for 15 additional minutes or until noodles are done.
Turn off heat and leave on the warm burner for 15 minutes before serving. Serve topped with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.
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