Skillet beef and noodles (anytime)

May 26, 2009

In the summer I often cook meals with the toaster oven and the microwave. For some dishes, like corn on the cob, the microwave method (high heat for about 2 1/2 minutes per cob; the only prep required is trimming each end of the husk — but don’t remove it before zapping) is divinely simple and much cooler for the kitchen than the alternative, boiling. And for risotto, there’s absolutely no question that I will make it the traditional way, regardless of the season! But the availability of fresh spring produce like asparagus or peas, either of which can be used in this recipe from the Miami Herald, makes this a perfect time for risotto.

Another of my alternatives to baking involves making skillet pasta “casseroles” like this one.  My mom used to make it in a pressure cooker (remember those?), but it’s just as easy, albeit a little slower, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. My husband’s a big fan of this dish, and because M.’s a vegetarian, there are always enough leftovers for me to microwave for lunch the next day … thus minimizing the time I spend at the stove even more.

Beef-Noodle Stovetop  Casserole

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 c. wide egg noodles, uncooked
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 8-oz. can water or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, optional

Brown the hamburger in the pan, then drain off any fat. Addthe onion and cook a couple of minutes until it’s softened. Add the remaining ingredients and bring them to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, checking often to stir the noodles and and adding more liquid as needed.  Test the noodles; the dish will be done when they’re cooked to your desired texture. If you’d like, you can top this dish with mozzarella cheese (sprinkle it on at the end of cooking and let the dish simmer a minute or two, without stirring, until the cheese melts).

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