This quick and easy Creamy Italian Pasta Skillet combines ground beef, a jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce, some onions, garlic, pasta, cheese, and a little heavy cream for a hearty dish that’s perfect for those busy weeknights when you’re short on time. But trust me… this dish isn’t short on flavor.
This particular dish was born out of necessity. Let me explain…
I know this might come as a shock to you, but we don’t always cook my recipes. Sure, they make up the majority of our meals, but we often like to try new stuff and experiment. Heather will see stuff on Pinterest and we’ll give it a try.
Well, in this case, Heather saw a recipe that she wanted to try and bought the ingredients for it. But when it came time to cook it, we couldn’t find the recipe again. So I just started throwing stuff in a skillet and this was born. We liked it so much, we knew we wanted to share it with y’all!
Here are a few things worth mentioning about this recipe…
Pasta – Nearly any short pasta will work in this recipe. I love the way the rotini (or fusili) holds the sauce, but penne, bowtie, rigatoni, or even elbow would work. And honestly, long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine should work, too.
Sauce – Most jarred pasta/marinara sauces should work. Just keep in mind that this dish gets lots of flavor from this ingredient, so pick a good one. My favorites are Rao and Botticelli. Also keep in mind that the sauce you use will determine how much salt and pepper you’ll need to add at the end. I know how frustrating it can be for some folks to see the phrase “add salt and pepper to taste.” The reality is, though, that different jarred sauces have varying amounts of salt (and fat). So adding 1 teaspoon of salt to one brand of sauce might be perfect, but it might be way too much for another.
Ground Beef – We use ground beef in this recipe, but ground Italian sausage would be great as well. You could even use a blend of the two – if you’re feeling adventurous.
Garlic – Be sure not to burn your garlic. It’s going to cook quickly, so I usually suggest no more than about a minute before moving on to the next step. Burnt garlic will leave your dish with a bitter, funny taste.
Italian Seasoning – Different brands of dried Italian seasoning blend will have varying flavors and intensities. I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon, but feel free to add more to get more flavor. Just as with the salt, the jarred sauce will have other seasonings and spices as well, and you’ll want to add to taste here.
Creamy Italian Pasta Skillet
- 8 ounces rotini pasta (or other short pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup beef broth/stock
- 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain, and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil then add the ground beef and onion. Brown the ground beef until cooked through, drain the excess grease away.
- Return the meat to the skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add the Italian seasoning and beef stock and stir to combine – being sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the marinara. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
- Stir in the heavy cream and the cheese. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta to the skillet and stir. Serve immediately.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.