½ pound lean ground beef (15% fat)
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small zucchini, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) tomato-based pasta sauce
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
12 ounces rotini pasta (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, garlic and zucchini over medium-high heat (350 degrees F in an electric skillet) until meat is browned and broken into pieces. Drain any fat (see Notes).
- Add the pasta sauce, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium low (275 degrees F in an electric skillet) for 15 minutes.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce in the skillet. Stir in the cheese and cover until the cheese is melted.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
- Substitute broccoli for zucchini. Cook fresh broccoli with the pasta in step 3 or add frozen broccoli in step 2.
- Pour fat from cooked meat into a metal container. Let it cool, then dispose of it in a garbage can.
Very cheesy, just like the name! My kids LOVED it!
Very good, I'll definately make this again.
Delicious. You can't go wrong with these ingredients! I like adding corn to mine!
Made this last night, switched out the zucchini for broccoli due to a family request. It was amazing, it made so much we invited some neighbor kids over and now they all think I am a professional cook!
This is such a great pasta dish! I used ground turkey instead of beef and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning instead of the basil and oregano. I was so excited to serve it that I forgot to add the cheese, but it was still tasty without it!
Decided to test out this recipe with the family before using it with a class -- substituted two 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (didn't have any pasta sauce), used frozen broccoli, and added one cup of water to the recipe so I could cook the pasta in the same pan. Covered the pan, and simmered everything on low for 15 minutes, then added the cheeses.
It turned out perfect -- a healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper, but just as easy to make using the one-pan method. Thanks Food Hero -- another winner!
Great idea for making this a one skillet meal! We'll work on adding this option to the notes!
The Food Hero Team
Made this with a class of adults -- RAVE reviews.
I've made this dish with adults and teens in cooking classes, and served it at food banks and other agencies. It's always a big hit. I make it a one-pot meal by adding the dry pasta and 1 1/2 cups water with all the other ingredients (stirring and adding a bit more water if needed as it cooks). It's super easy, and so is clean-up. We have added a variety of vegetables, sometimes 3 or 4, and even non-vegetable eaters were surprised how much they liked it.
This recipe is delicious! Instead of using beef I substituted extra firm tofu and added in some cumin and paprika to give it a little more flavor.