Move over, Hamburger Helper! We have a delicious and customizable one-pan dish that brings together the savory flavors of bacon, ground beef, pasta shells, burger sauce, and two layers of cheese. This bacon cheeseburger ground beef pasta is a true crowd-pleaser that can be tailored to your preferences, whether you’re aiming for a wholesome or indulgent meal.
Putting the Bacon in Bacon Cheeseburger Ground Beef Pasta
Just like many iconic recipes, this fantastic combination of pasta and ground beef begins with the sizzling of bacon in a pan. While the recipe suggests using center-cut bacon for a leaner option, any type of bacon will work its magic.
To achieve perfectly crispy bacon, start by dicing it and placing it in a cold pan. As the pan gradually heats up, the fat renders, giving you evenly crispy bacon that adds depth and flavor to the dish.
After the bacon has cooked, the remaining bacon fat becomes the ideal base for sautéing diced onion. For a quicker alternative, you can substitute freshly diced onion with onion powder in our original cheeseburger ground chicken pasta recipe.
Once the onion has picked up a beautiful color, it’s time to make room for the ground beef. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the beef as it browns to enhance its flavors. Once a nice crust forms on the bottom, break apart the beef and mix everything together, allowing the beef to cook thoroughly. This simple base doesn’t require any additional seasoning.
However, get ready for the burst of flavor from the burger sauce!
Pasta vs Impasta
This recipe calls for pasta shells, and while I typically opt for higher protein chickpea pasta like Banza in low-calorie recipes, plain wheat pasta shells work wonderfully too.
The calorie difference between chickpea pasta and wheat pasta is minimal, but their carbohydrate, fiber, and protein content vary. If you’re not concerned about calories or macronutrients, classic pasta shells are the perfect choice.
Now, you might be wondering if elbows would work. While they are a suitable option, I personally prefer pasta shells for their ability to hold pockets of delicious beefy goodness.
Burger Sauce and Cheese
When your pasta is just shy of al dente, it’s time to bring in the burger sauce and cheese. This is where you can get creative with your sauce choices. For an added kick, I like to use pickled jalapeños instead of relish. Feel free to experiment and have fun!
As you pour in the sauce and sprinkle the cheese, make sure there is a bit of remaining beef broth or cooking liquid in the skillet. The starch from the pasta will work its magic, creating a perfectly creamy cheese sauce.
To elevate the dish further, divide the cheese into two portions. Use one portion of cheese in the sauce, and the other for broiling or melting on top of the ground beef pasta. This not only creates a more appealing presentation but also adds delightful texture.
Of course, if you prefer, you can simply mix all the cheese into the sauce and serve your creamy ground beef pasta as is. Just remember to top it off with crispy bacon pieces, a garnish of fresh parsley, and an extra dollop of relish or diced jalapeño peppers.
What to Serve with Ground Beef Pasta
Now that we have our mouthwatering dish ready, let’s discuss some delectable pairings. Treat this hamburger pasta combo just like you would Hamburger Helper. Here are a few ideas:
- Grilled Bread or Garlic Bread
- Air Fried Green Beans or Brussels Sprouts
- Simple Garden Salad
- Dinner Rolls
- Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
As you can see, adding some vegetables is always a great idea, but bread is a must-have addition.
That’s all you need to know to create this flavorful masterpiece. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Enjoy the cheesy goodness of our bacon cheeseburger ground beef pasta!
Before you move on to the printable recipe card, let me share another fantastic meat sauce option with you—my pumpkin bolognese. This versatile sauce can be used to make classic pasta dishes, mac and cheese, melts, and more.
And since you have burgers on the brain, don’t forget to bookmark our recipes for bison smash burgers and double chicken cheeseburgers. They will surely satisfy your burger cravings!