American Chop Suey a classic blend of noodles, seasoned meat, and herbs in a rich tomato sauce. We’ve upped the flavor ante with sweet Italian sausage and fennel for a fresh Italian spin on this dinner favorite.
A comfort food dish with many names from goulash to chili mac to Johnny Marzetti, but almost always known in New England as American Chop Suey. No matter what you call it, it’s a standard that’s totally versatile easy and delicious.
- Substitute ground turkey to reduce calories.
- Toss in mushrooms, broccoli or your favorite veg when sauteing at the start of cooking.
- Omit red pepper flakes if you don’t like heat or add more to increase the kick!
- While elbows are the most common pasta used in Chop Suey, you can also use ditalini, cavatappi, penne, paccheri, fusilli or any small cut pasta.
- Mix in a cup of Parmesan cheese just before serving if you like to cheese things up! Or top with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350°F/175°C oven for 15 minutes to obtain a crisp cheesy crust.
How to make American Chop Suey
American Chop Suey a classic blend of noodles, seasoned meat, and herbs in a rich tomato sauce. We've pumped up the flavor by adding sweet Italian sausage and fennel, one of my all-time favorite root vegetables, which adds a new level of flavor!
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 3 cups onions, peeled + diced divided in half
- 3 cups green peppers, peeled + diced divided in half
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed + diced
- 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef,
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasonings
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 Parmesan rinds, optional
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni
Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven or pot over medium-high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and reheat 30 seconds. Add half of the peppers and onions, and sauté for 3 minutes until the onions become translucent, then toss in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the ground beef, sweet Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into smaller bits as it browns.
When the meat is cooked, ladle into a fine mesh strainer and strain off any excess fat and liquid. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and bring back to medium-high heat, add the strained mixture back into the pot and stir. Mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasonings, fennel seed, Kosher sea salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan rinds into the meat mixture. Stir to combine, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes add the remaining peppers and onions, stir, cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. 15 minutes after adding the second batch of onions and peppers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the elbow macaroni until just slightly undercooked, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the salted cooking water and set aside.
Strain the elbows and add to the beef mixture along with the reserved 1 cup of pasta water. Heat and stir for 5 minutes or until the pasta is perfectly cooked, remove the Parmesan cheese rinds and discard.
Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired.
- Prep time is approximate.