This Tomato Beef Pasta recipe is a super easy, family favorite dinner recipe… and it has a secret ingredient that you might not expect! Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.
I first made this recipe for my family back in 2007. My son was just six years old (time flies as he’s 17 now!) I was a teacher back then, and I was always looking for things to make for dinner that didn’t take a lot of time or ingredients. Since pasta is frequently requested as a dinner choice in my house, it’s nice to have some new ideas. This Tomato Beef Pasta was a big hit with my guys, and I found that it was indeed very easy to make. It’s been a repeat recipe in my house for 12 years now!
What’s the secret ingredient in this Tomato Beef Pasta?
The secret ingredient in this pasta recipe is… tomato juice! Yep, not tomato sauce but tomato juice— the kind found in your market’s juice aisle. There are a couple of other ingredients in this recipe that might have you questioning things too. Ketchup and brown sugar add some sweetness to the recipe. And chili powder is added in for a splash of interesting flavor as well. Trust me on all of this, and try it!
Favorite Pasta Brands:
You can choose your favorite pasta for this recipe. I recommend going with rotini, penne or elbow pasta. All of those are just the right size for soaking up the tomato sauce and cooking evenly and quickly. While I do like classic pasta, I also enjoy using whole wheat pasta (it usually takes a little longer to cook). Barilla and Delallo brands make good whole wheat pasta. I haven’t yet tried this recipe with gluten-free pasta.
How to Make Tomato Beef Pasta:
The good news all around is that this recipe is made in just one pot! You’ll brown the ground beef first. Then add onion and bell pepper to saute with the beef. Chili powder, brown sugar, and salt/pepper are sprinkled in next. Then the ketchup and tomato juice are mixed in. One whole pound of pasta is added to the pot, and then you’ll bring it to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
Sometimes I find that I need to add a little water to the pot if it appears to be getting too thick– or if the liquid has simmered down. Just keep an eye on it and add 1/2 cup of water at a time until the pasta has the doneness that you prefer. 1 cup of added water should be just about right.
This Tomato Beef Pasta recipe is a cozy recipe to make during the winter months. I’ve heard about the arctic blast hitting the midwest and east coast, and it sounds like a hot pasta dish is the ticket to filling bellies and helping everyone to feel toasty warm!
If you’re looking for more recipes to use up tomato juice, you might like to try my Easy Gazpacho Recipe. Or you can make a Sangrita Cocktail! Chicken Tortilla Soup is a delicious option for dinner too. And you might find this post useful if you don’t have any tomato juice on hand: How to Make Tomato Juice from Tomato Paste.
Tomato Beef Pasta
This pasta recipe is so easy to make, and it's a family favorite for dinner!
- 16 ounces lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 46 ounces tomato juice
- 16 ounces pasta (rotini, penne or elbow)
- parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large pot over medium heat, brown the beef; spoon off the fat and discard. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for a few minutes, until the vegetables get tender. Sprinkle on the chili powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Add the ketchup and tomato juice and stir. Pour in the pasta (dry) and stir to coat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until al dente (about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally to make sure that the juice is cooking the noodles evenly. Add water a half cup at a time if more liquid is needed (I usually use about 1 cup water).
Serve topped with grated Parmesan, if desired.