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macaroni and salad on a plate
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5 from 4 votes

Easy Macaroni Recipe

Assyrian-style Easy Macaroni Recipe with diced beef, and a rich tomato sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 703.31kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • ¾ lb. sirloin (diced)
  • 1 T. salt (divided)
  • cups elbow pasta or ziti
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small onion (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 T. paprika
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste


  • Place diced meat into a 6-quart Dutch oven. Cover with two cups of water and cook over medium heat until the water gets cloudy and foamy.
  • Drain the meat into a colander and run under cold water. Rinse the pot and place the meat back inside, along with two more cups of water, and one teaspoon of salt. Cook, covered for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add water, one teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of oil to another pot. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and stir. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, then drain. 
  • When 30 minutes have elapsed, remove diced meat from the pot and drain any remaining liquid. Add remaining oil, onion, and garlic to the same pot and cook for one minute.
  • Add the diced meat and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the paprika, remaining salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste.
  • Add ¾ cups of water to the sauce ingredients and mix to combine.
  • When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the pot with the tomato sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook over low heat for an additional fifteen minutes. Serve with Middle Eastern Salad.


  • Assyrians don't add cheese to their macaroni. Instead, we like to serve this pasta dish with a salad. Specifically, Middle Eastern Salad, which we call "zalata." Inevitably, the salad ends up mixed into the pasta, since it's poured over the pasta, instead of in a separate bowl. The tangy lemon and olive oil salad dressing adds even more flavor to the already delicious macaroni.
  • Another difference between Italian baked pasta and mom's recipe is that mom was adamant about using diced beef instead of ground beef. I think it makes a difference, so don't cut corners here!
  • Some people swear by adding a pinch of curry in with the other spices. Be sure to give it a try and see if you prefer it with or without.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 703.31kcal | Carbohydrates: 94.65g | Protein: 35.16g | Fat: 19.58g | Saturated Fat: 3.71g | Cholesterol: 51.88mg | Sodium: 1804.32mg | Potassium: 629.49mg | Fiber: 4.96g | Sugar: 4.26g | Vitamin A: 965.97IU | Vitamin C: 1.53mg | Calcium: 57.57mg | Iron: 3.43mg