Winter is over, Spring is here and yet we are still craving some comfort food. Maybe it’s the gloomy weather, the rainy season or the need to get one last hearty meal before the days of picnics and tank tops come in full swing.
Nothing sounds more comforting than a big bowl of noodles, beef and garlicky tomato sauce smothered in cheese: American Chop Suey. A New England classic, a dish that takes us back to childhood and one we feel should be embraced by all who enjoy comfort and ease. This recipe can easily be made with pantry ingredients or fresh picked herbs and vegetables. It truly is adaptable to what you have on hand!
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef (we used ground bison)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
1 & 1/4 cup fresh diced tomatoes (5 – 6 tomatoes); or 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup tomato juice
Pinch of sugar
1 pound elbow macaroni
Shredded Cheese (we used monterey jack & mozzarella cheeses), to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat the avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Then add the ground beef and continue to cook, stirring and breaking up the chunks of meat with a spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
- Sprinkle the herbs, pepper and salt (to taste) over the meat and mix in well.
- Add the fresh tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce, paste and juice. Add sugar to taste and let simmer.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni to the pot, stirring occasionally, until pasta reaches al dente.
- Add the pasta to the beef mixture and mix to combine. Pour into a prepared baking dish and sprinkle cheese over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Serve hot & enjoy!