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Beef and Beans With Pasta

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

This comes from the children’s food chapter of How to Eat, but it should certainly not be confined to the Kids’ Menu. It is a de-stressingly easy, fabulous tasting, one-pot meal that provides instant comfort.
When my children were little, I didn’t add any parsley to this (one of them had nothing but affronted disdain for Green Bits) but please add a scattering of freshly chopped parsley to serve if you wish. And I pour over mine some fierce and glowingly orange chilli oil.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This comes from the children’s food chapter of How to Eat, but it should certainly not be confined to the Kids’ Menu. It is a de-stressingly easy, fabulous tasting, one-pot meal that provides instant comfort.
When my children were little, I didn’t add any parsley to this (one of them had nothing but affronted disdain for Green Bits) but please add a scattering of freshly chopped parsley to serve if you wish. And I pour over mine some fierce and glowingly orange chilli oil.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Beef and Beans with Pasta
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 4 (or more if small children are eating)

Metric Cups
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ stick of celery
  • 1 - 2 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil
  • 250 grams minced beef
  • 1 x 400 grams tin of borlotti beans or pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 1 x 400 grams tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glug of red vermouth or red wine (optional)
  • 250 grams macaroni
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ stalk of celery
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 1 x 15 ounces tin of borlotti beans or pinto beans (drained)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 x 14 ounces tin of diced tomatoes
  • 1 glug of red vermouth or red wine (optional)
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

  1. This is all you do: put the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in the food processor and turn on for a few seconds until you have a finely chopped orangey-jade mess. (If I’m chopping finely by hand I might, out of laziness or time-pressure, not bother with the carrot or celery.) Cook the vegetables in the oil in a medium-large saucepan or enamelled cast-iron casserole / Dutch oven for 5-7 minutes over medium heat, until beginning to soften at the edges, but not brown. Stir regularly.
  2. Turn the heat up, add the beef, and turn it in the hot pan, pushing it and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, spatula or fork, until it loses its raw redness. Add the drained tin of beans, then slowly stir in the beef stock, and tin of chopped tomatoes (and a slug of red wine if you’ve got a bottle opened somewhere, or red vermouth if you prefer, as I often do).
  3. Bring to the boil, add the macaroni, let it come to the boil again and then turn down the heat and cook, uncovered, at a robust simmer for 18–20 minutes, stirring every now and again during this time to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pan. When it’s cooked, and the pasta tender, much of the liquid should have evaporated or been absorbed and what you’ll have is a thick, busy stew of a soup. Add a splash of hot water if you feel it needs it. Taste for salt and pepper, grate some Parmesan over, if wished, and let the eaters grate some more themselves.
  1. This is all you do: put the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in the food processor and turn on for a few seconds until you have a finely chopped orangey-jade mess. (If I’m chopping finely by hand I might, out of laziness or time-pressure, not bother with the carrot or celery.) Cook the vegetables in the oil in a medium-large saucepan or enamelled cast-iron casserole / Dutch oven for 5-7 minutes over medium heat, until beginning to soften at the edges, but not brown. Stir regularly.
  2. Turn the heat up, add the beef, and turn it in the hot pan, pushing it and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, spatula or fork, until it loses its raw redness. Add the drained tin of beans, then slowly stir in the beef broth, and tin of diced tomatoes (and a slug of red wine if you’ve got a bottle opened somewhere, or red vermouth if you prefer, as I often do).
  3. Bring to the boil, add the macaroni, let it come to the boil again and then turn down the heat and cook, uncovered, at a robust simmer for 18–20 minutes, stirring every now and again during this time to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pan. When it’s cooked, and the pasta tender, much of the liquid should have evaporated or been absorbed and what you’ll have is a thick, busy stew of a soup. Add a splash of hot water if you feel it needs it. Taste for salt and pepper, grate some Parmesan over, if wished, and let the eaters grate some more themselves.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
Leftovers should be cooled and refrigerated within 2 hours. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed, until piping hot all the way through.

FREEZE NOTE:
Leftovers can also be frozen in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as above. Please note that in both cases the cooked pasta will soften more.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
Leftovers should be cooled and refrigerated within 2 hours. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed, until piping hot all the way through.

FREEZE NOTE:
Leftovers can also be frozen in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as above. Please note that in both cases the cooked pasta will soften more.

Tell us what you think

What 7 Others have said

  • Always on the lookout for wholesome mince-beef-based dishes, the addition of beans almost puts this into "superfood" category here! Easy to put together, I just followed the instructions et voilà, dinner for 3 with lots of leftovers! Thanks, Nigella, for yet another winner!

    Posted by carl3684 on 24th February 2021
  • This is the best one pot meal!

    Posted by tom-zg on 3rd December 2020
  • I made this with ground chicken, some chicken bacon and chick peas, and green bell peppers instead of celery. Also added a heaped teaspoon of harissa. Very good! Next time I'm going cook it for a shorter time once the pasta is in, though, as 15-20 mins makes the pasta a bit too soggy for my taste.

    Posted by Lil_Timmy_Tee on 14th November 2020
  • I love one pot cooking and this dish is a winner. I added some extra seasoning for a more robust flavour (freshly grated nutmeg, a splodge of sun dried tomato paste and fresh basil),

    Posted by BunnyMayfair on 7th March 2020
  • Bought How To Eat when it first came out, must say it’s the best cook book I’ve ever had. Went to read it the other day and it has disappeared!, no one is owning up -fuming to say the least!!!

    Posted by Mitchyb001 on 1st November 2019
  • This is somewhat similar to a classic kids' dish in New England (or, Maine, at least) called "American Chop Suey" for reasons that I could never understand. It was a guilty pleasure for most adults, including me! Thanks, Nigella!

    Posted by sancarloscharlie on 1st November 2019
  • I veganized this and added 2 teasponns sweet paprika and a couple of shakes of dried thyme and it was outstanding! Will definitely make this again!

    Posted by Erin1 on 3rd November 2018
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