Whether you call it American Chop Suey or American Goulash, this meal is delicious. A classic New England dish that’s synonymous with comfort food. My version is packed with flavor from lots of garlic, spices, and red wine. It may inspire you to open up a diner. If you do, I only ask you to name the dish “Natalie’s American Chop Suey.” Yes, it’s that good.
If you’re from New England, you've probably experienced American chop suey at least once for dinner. No? Well, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you think you know what it is then think again because my version sways from the normal you probably associate with this dish.
This isn’t your typical American chop suey or American goulash. Nope. Don’t expect soggy pasta covered in a flavorless sauce that barely coats the pasta. Yes, I’ve had those and I would totally understand if you shied away from it. I would too. Instead, I hope you have an appetite because you’re gonna want to devour this one.
This dish is loaded with ground beef, sauteed sweet onions, garlic, and peppers, loads of spices, thickened slightly with a good amount of tomato paste, then thinned slightly with some red wine and water. Instead of using tomato juice, why not use tomato paste which is concentrated tomato flavor, then thin it out with some wine and water? I control the consistency and I’m type A - so I like to be in control.
Not only do I use 4 good sized garlic cloves, I add some granulated garlic too. I also use a good amount of oregano, some crushed red pepper to wake the senses, and a few bay leaves to give it that flavor that Mom always used to give it that umph. Let’s not forget some black pepper - just because we can’t leave it out - and a good amount of salt because you need salt to bring together all the flavors.
As for the macaroni, please, please, please cook it for at least 2 minutes MINUS the amount of time it states on the package for al dente and always cook it in salted water. Never ever ever put oil in the water - I don’t care who tells you to do it. Just say no.
The pasta will be tossed with the delicious hot tomato sauce which will continue to cook the pasta. We don’t want soggy macaroni. Soggy is never wanted here. You can read more about cooking pasta here.
Add American chop suey to your comfort food repertoire. You’re gonna love this dish.
Tools you’ll need to make American Chop Suey:
You’ll also love these hearty main dishes:
- Angel hair with sautéed tomatoes
- Sausage pasta bake with mozzarella
- Simply delicious spinach and cheese pasta salad
- Spaghetti with garlic butter and cheese
- Sheet pan sausage potatoes peppers and onions
- Hearty beef stew
- Italian meatloaf cooked in no bake tomato sauce
- Stuffed peppers with sausage and mozzarella
- Baked rigatoni with three cheeses
- Nat your average chili
Life is too short for mediocre food.
This post contains affiliate links for the products I use in my kitchen.
American Chop Suey a.k.a. American GoulashPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced, (I use sweet)
- 2 green bell peppers stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 pounds ground beef at least 85% lean
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic yes more garlic
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes use ¼ tsp if you want less kick
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Kosher salt to taste (I use about 4 teaspoons total for this recipe)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup red wine nothing fancy but not cooking wine
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (28-ounce) can ground peeled tomatoes I use Pastene
- 1 pound elbow macaroni uncooked
- grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Make the sauce:
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, until soft - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add the peppers and cook for about 2 minutes until they’re softened and just starting to brown.
- Make a space in the center of the pot and add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until the meat is just browned. It doesn’t have to cook completely as it will continue to cook in the sauce.
- Sprinkle in all the spices along with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to start. You can adjust to your taste later.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook just until it loses its bright red color. Add in the soy sauce and wine and stir, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in water and the ground peeled tomatoes.
- Taste and add some more salt to your taste. I find 4 teaspoons to be perfect.
- Turn heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, while the pasta cooks.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the water. Add the macaroni and cook until the recommended time on package for al dente minus 2 minutes. We don’t want soggy pasta. Drain but don’t rinse.
- Remove bay leaves from sauce and discard. Mix in macaroni with the sauce and stir until combined.
- Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy.
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