We all know that pasta is one of the easiest things in the world to cook. It was one of the first things I ever learned how to cook, and it is still the best option when I need to make a quick meal on a busy college evening. On the other hand, chili is the great blank canvas of cooking. There is a great freedom in being able to toss a bunch of things you like into a pot, not worry about it for a while and then come back to a hot, hearty meal. This recipe gives you the best of both of these foods. The pasta sauce in this recipe is very much like chili, with ground meat, creamy beans and a certain degree of soupiness, but the thing that makes it so convenient is that the pasta is cooked in the sauce, so the whole process is done quickly, in one pot, with just one thing to do at a time. It is also very much like a chili in that it is customizable. The version I’m giving you here is the most basic one, but anything that you like to have in a chili, you can add here. In particular, I think that sliced bell peppers, some corn, or some kind of spicy element with hot sauce or hot peppers would be great, but you can follow your heart.

Ingredients (makes six servings):

  • 3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey, room temperature
  • Seasonings of your choice, about a teaspoon in total
  • 6.5 cups beef broth
  • One 15.5 oz. can of pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • One box of pasta
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Heat the oil on the bottom of a large pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for five minutes.
  3. Add the meat, breaking it up into small pieces as you drop it in. Cook, stirring and turning frequently, until no longer pink – about five minutes. Also add any pepper or seasoning here.
  4. Pour in the broth, the beans and the tomato sauce. Mix everything together until blended and cover the pot until the mixture boils.
  5. Add the pasta. Keep the pot uncovered and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the pasta is cooked, according to the package directions. If the mix ever becomes too thick to cook the pasta, add more broth ¼ cup at a time.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, the recipe is done! Enjoy!