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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hamburger Helper

I am hereby ready to confess that I watched way too much T.V. as a child. And what have I retained from all those hours of frying my brain? Tons of commercials that should win Oscars for their PR because 20 something years later I am still thinking of Hamburger Helper. You don't have to admit it publicly, but I know you know what Hamburger Helper is and I know you also used to wish your mother made it for you (but it will be our little secret.) Little pasta shapes cooked with meat and sauce and maybe some cheese that just looked uber-shiny on screen and that has surely caused many dents on television screens as kids tried to get their spoons through. I passed a box of Hamburger Helper in the store today and was transported back to my childhood and I was determined to make it though it can hardly be called gourmet. This is my version and it ROCKED- even better, the amount it made could feed an army.


2 1/2 lbs  or about 1 kilo chopped meat
1 1/2 pounds small shells or any other small pasta (elbows, ditalini)
1 29oz  can tomato sauce
3Tbl tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbl dried basil
1 Tbl dried oregano
2 Tbl good quality granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pan saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the basil and oregano and mix a little more. Add the chopped meat and break it up into little pieces with a wooden spoon and let the meat brown a little. Add the tomato sauce, paste, and granulated garlic and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let the meat simmer for about 25 minutes. In the meantime bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until almost full cooked. Add the drained pasta into the pot with the sauce while the sauce is still cooking (this is crucial because this will allow the sauce to really permeate inside the pasta). Let it cook another 2-3 minutes together and its ready to serve!



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