Hearty Penne Beef

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Hearty Penne Beef 
(Taste of Home Magazine, Best Ever Ground Beef)

One thing the men in this particular household are really fond of is Ground Beef.  Especially mixed with pasta, and on this particular day penne pasta.

This is a delicious ground beef penne pastas recipe that cooks all in one skillet, with the exception of the pasta, which is cooked separately. 

The photograph you see above is the one from the magazine. It looks fabulously tasty right?  Right!  I am going to have to apologize in advance for my photos of this dish.  They are appalling to say the least.  

Hearty Penne Beef 
They were taken late in the day at supper time, beneath the lights in the kitchen of this house. So they are not up to my usual standard.  I am really sorry for that.  Don't let the bad photography put you off from trying this fabulous recipe.

I can promise you that not only is it delicious, but it is really easy to make. It is also a real man/family pleaser of a dish!  

Hearty Penne Beef 

Knowing how much ground beef is loved in this house, especially dad, I picked up this recipe magazine at the grocery shops a few weeks back.  I asked my sister to pick out a recipe from the magazine that she thought both dad and Dan would like.

This is the one she picked.  I have to say it was a very nice choice.  Simple, yet hearty, and containing several of your five a day.  I love spinach in any way shape or form. I was pleased.

Hearty Penne Beef 
This is a photo I took of it before we added the cheese on top. You can see the richness of the sauce and the abundance of meat in it, plus the lovely vibrant green color of the spinach.  I love dishes like this.

It begins with making a really simple beef and tomato sauce.  We were a little bit confused by the ingredients list so I will tell you what we used.   The instructions were a bit vague on that we thought.

Hearty Penne Beef 
Perhaps that is because we are in Canada and this is an American magazine.  Anyways, here is what we used and I can tell you it worked perfectly.

It spoke about using a can of beef broth. We were not sure. Did it mean condensed beef broth, undiluted?  Or was it already diluted beef broth.  Hmmm . . . 

We used a liquid stock concentrate that needed to be diluted and then made an equivalent amount of beef broth that was somewhere in between.  It was not concentrated, nor was it weak.

 Hearty Penne Beef 

It also called for canned tomato puree.  Hmmm . . .  was that tomato paste?  I think not as that would be an awful lot of tomato paste.

Was it tomato sauce?  Was it pureed tomatoes? 

We went with the pureed tomatoes and used a bottle of Tomato Passata, which is essentially pureed tomatoes.  This worked perfectly. 

Hearty Penne Beef 

The original recipe called for cooking the past and then cooking the sauce. In my experience this is never a good idea. The pasta sticks together, unless you toss it with a bit of oil.  We opted to make the sauce and then while that was simmering cook the pasta.

This method worked beautifully.  Both were finished cooking around the same time.  We had a nice thick sauce and perfectly cooked pasta, ready to stir together. 

Hearty Penne Beef 

I really don't like it when recipes are not specific in what they want you to use. I would have expected a bit more from Taste of Home, but then again, I try to write my recipes so that anyone can cook them.

This is because I have a developmentally challenged daughter.  She likes to cook.  She sometimes has a difficult time understanding what is expected, and so I write my recipes so that she, and anyone like her, can understand exactly what to do and what is required. 

Hearty Penne Beef 

Also not all cooks have years of experience to fall back on.  There are a great many novice cooks out there.  I want them to be able to understand exactly what they need and what they need to do. Its that simple.

I have never had anyone complain yet. Seriously.

Hearty Penne Beef

Other than that, this was an excellent recipe.  We all loved the addition of the chopped fresh spinach. Dan loves spinach and this was a great way of getting even an ardent spinach hater to try it without totally putting them off.

Spinach is excellent in recipes such as this and it is so good for you. Even Dad did not mind there being spinach in it.  Dan felt it tastes like a "Poor Man's Lasagna." His words not mine.

Hearty Penne Beef

We opted to serve it with a hearty double cheese bread that we had picked up from the grocery shop and frozen a few months ago. I think it was from Ace Bakery and it was excellent. Nice and cheesy flavored. 

It went really well with the pasta, and was brilliant for mopping up any residue from that delicious sauce.   

In my own home I might serve a tossed salad on the side of this.  Neither Dan nor Dad like salad overly much so on this particular day we didn't serve anything but the pasta and the bread and some apple pie for dessert.

We had two very happy campers, and Dan gobbled up the leftovers today for his breakfast. I call that a win!

Hearty Penne Beef

Hearty Penne Beef

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min
A delicious comfort food supper taken from a Taste of Home specials magazine, Best Ever Ground Beef


  • 1 3/4 cups (200g) uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz/425g) pureed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz/410g) beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (65g) chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups (225g) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  1. Add the ground beef to a deep skillet and brown over medium high heat until no pink remains.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  2. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, pureed tomatoes and beef stock.  Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly.
  4. While the sauce is cooking cook your penne pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain well and rinse.
  5. Add the spinach to the sauce.  Cook for 2 minutes, until wilted.  Add the drained pasta, combine well together.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over top. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted.  (3 to 4 minutes.)
  7. Spoon out onto heated plates to serve.
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Hearty Penne Beef
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  1. This looks good, Marie. It's similar to one I make called "Super Skillet Pasta". Once my lb of ground beef is browned, I sprinkle a package of the dry Lipton Onion Soup mix on top. Add 1 teaspoon of oregano. I then add a 28 ounce tin of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cups of bowtie pasta, elbow macaroni or similar small pasta. Simmer, covered till all liquid has been absorbed and pasta is tender, stirring occassionally, about 20 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Serve, topped with shredded mazzarella cheese. It's very good and and quite quick to make. Makes 4 hearty servings.
    I sometimes slice a carrot, boil it until tender and add at the same time as the parmesan cheese. Well, that's certainly made me hungry but way too early for breakfast. Back to sleep I go. Have a good day. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. Oh that sounds really delicious Elaine! I am going to give it a go I think! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us! I love using onion soup mix in things. In the UK, it was very difficult to find, believe it or not. I had to buy it online at a premium price! I hope you were able to get some more sleep and that you also have a good day. Love and hugs, xoxo

    2. Marie, if you google "Souper Skillet Pasta" the recipe will come up. I did go back to sleep but now I'm really hungry. Time for breakfast. Take gentle care. Love and hugs, Elaine

  2. Oh I am with you on vague ingredients lists and instructions. Or when you start cooking and the recipe tells you to add something that does not even appear on the list of ingredients! I now read though any recipes carefully so I don't get any nasty surprises :)

    This does sound like a great meal. The addition of spinach is something I like. We do enjoy pasta in this house, generally with a side salad (to be healthy) and garlic bread (because I'm naughty).

    1. Thanks Marie. Its always a good idea to read through recipes really well before starting to cook them. Most times if something is missing you can message the writer and they can let you know what to add/fix, etc. I find quite often however, especially on the more popular blogs, they simply don't bother to respond. Bad that. Anyways I hope you will make this and enjoy it! I love LOVE garlic bread also. xoxo

  3. Here in the states shopping for tomato products can be confusing at times. Beef broth comes in cans and is usually pre-diluted. You can get the concentrated ones, but they're kind of pricey. I buy a product called Better than Bullion, it's a paste and you dilute it with water, about 1 teaspoon paste to 1 cup water. you were correct in using passata for the tomato puree. We have paste, sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato puree. The crushed and the tomato puree are almost the same, the crushed has a bit more body. The puree is almost the same as the sauce, but a little thicker. Confused yet? LOL Have a wonderful day! Much love - Raquel XO

    1. There is an abundance of choice in the shops for sure Raquel! And yes, it can be confusing! I will get used to it again no doubt! Have a wonderful day too! xoxo


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