Cooking On A Budget: Cheese Steak Pasta Casserole

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cheese Steak Pasta Casserole


A couple of years ago we went to surprise our son in Salem Massachusetts on Father's Day. It was his fiancees idea to surprise him. He was over the moon happy to see us and we all ventured to downtown Salem to have Father's Day brunch at Tavern In The Square Restaurant. We sat outside in the lovely sunshine enjoying one another company, sipping on some refreshments and checking out the menu.

One dish popped out to me as I am a lover of macaroni and cheese. What popped out at me was their Steak and Schroom Macaroni and Cheese. It was delicious and I had no problem devouring it. Well that dish has stayed with me for a while and I've wanted to recreate it ever since. But, my husband isn't as big a fan of mushrooms as I am so I recreated a pasta dish using caramelized onion and steak in a cheesy sauce with pasta which was our dinner last evening.

Truth be told he devoured every last bite and concurred with me that this dish is "oddly delicious". I wasn't sure I was going to really like it and if it would make it here on the blog. But it works! It's tasty. The only criticism I have of the dish is the cheese I chose melted down well for the cheese sauce, but the extra cheese on top did not melt well with the heat of the oven.

Since I had to change up the dish and exclude mushrooms I decided to go with the flavors of a Philly Cheese Steak Grinder. I've seen lots of shows about Pat's and Geno's  and other famous cheese steak grinders to know that the proper way to order is either "cheese wit" or "cheese wit out". As the cheese appears orange and I think is melted Velveeta cheese or a variation there of, then my finding on sale Velveeta shreds at the store was perfect timing as I've never noticed them before.
  • 2 cups medium shell pasta - cooked el dente
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 8 oz. bag Velveeta shreds
  • 3/4 lb. thin top round steak
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour (all purpose white flour)
  • 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • salt for the pasta water
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • cooking spray or Crisco shortening
  1. Cook the pasta according to box directions to el dente and drain and set aside.
  2. Take a medium sized sauce pot and melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of flour and mix well. You are making a ROUX. Cook the flour taste out by constantly stirring for about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour in and whisk in 1 cup of milk until fully incorporated. Turn the heat down to medium low and keep whisking.
  4. To the roux mixture add in some freshly ground black pepper and the pinch of nutmeg. Stir. Then add in half of the bag of Velveeta cheese shreds and whisk until incorporated. You will have a nice thick creamy cheese sauce. Set aside.
  5. Season both sides of your thin steaks with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a very large frying pan, heat it over high heat. Get it screaming hot and add in 1 tablespoon of butter. The butter should turn brown when it hits the pan. Add in the steaks and sear very quickly for about 10 seconds a side with the heat still on high. Remove them to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  7. After the steak is done, take the onion and peel it and cut it in half. Then cut half moon slices and cut the half moon slices in half again. Heat your pan you used for the steak over medium low heat. Add one more tablespoon of butter if necessary and cook the onions until they are caramelized. As you stir the onions they pick up all of the steak flavor from the pan. The caramelization takes about 15 minutes.
  8. While the onions are caramelizing, cut your steak AGAINST THE GRAIN into strips.
  9. Spray or grease your baking dish and preheat your oven to 350°.
  10. Pour the shells into a large bowl and add in the cheese sauce and stir. Then add in the caramelized onions and the steak and give a big stir.
  11. Pour everything into the casserole. Pour about 1/4 cup of milk over the casserole, maybe a little more so the casserole is more creamy.
  12. Top with extra cheese if desire.
  13. Baked covered in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes.

Well if you like steak and onions and you like macaroni and cheese as does your family this is a nice little change up from everyday macaroni and cheese. Cheese Steak Pasta Casserole was given the thumbs up and I was asked if I would make it again. Yes I will. Enjoy everyone!

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