Ground Meat with Elbow Pasta

Source:  Opa Guido; cir. 1940’s

Ground Meat with Elbow Pasta
Ground Meat with Elbow Pasta

Ground Meat with Elbow Pasta

It’s funny how you form associations with food to people. This is definitely the case with this recipe. When we eat Ground Meat with Elbow Pasta, we always think of Guido. It was first made by my father-in-law, Guido upon his first trip visiting us in the U.S. One evening, he decided to prepare us a delightful meal. His food prep was quite impressive, and boy, did he know how to fine-dice an onion! Before I knew it, this became our traditional dish to eat together, whenever we visited one another between Greece and California. Not a bad option. Every time he made it, I think I loved it more and more.

Typed recipe

It took years of being in the family before I finally received my very own version of this recipe. A lovely recipe typed on a piece of paper. The Swiss name for this dish is “Gehacktes und Hoernli”. I learned that this recipe is a Swiss family recipe, passed down from his mother. I am sure, this recipe dates back to the mid 40’s at least. How a family makes a recipe is reflective of the time. Well, here it is. Every time we make this lovely dish, we remember our times with my now late father-in-law. I hope you get complete satisfaction and praise for this dish.

Ground meat with elbow pasta

It’s a special one and a family favorite! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Swiss
Keyword Meats, Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 1 medium onion fine diced
  • 2 cloves garlic fine diced
  • 5 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 lbs ground meat
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 1 TBS oregano chopped
  • 1 TBS rosemary chopped
  • 750 gr ellbow pasta (Hörnli)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 TBS tomato puree


  • Dice your garlic and onions
  • Turn on the stove and warm your olive oil in the sauté pan. Add your onions, garlic and fresh diced herbs.
  • Add your salt and pepper (pink Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper) sauté until translucent
  • Add your ground meat and cook until meat is ready, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Then add 1/2 cup of red wine to mixture (for color and taste) let the wine cook down (about 1-2 minutes)
  • Next, have your chicken stock or bouillon ready to pour. Before pouring, add cornstarch to liquid and stir with a whisk until lumps are smoothed out. Mixture should be well combined.
    Note: instead of the chicken stock:  1/2 L water with 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • Pour liquid into the meat/onion mixture. Be sure pot is on a low boil. Cook all ingredients until well combined and it begins to thicken slowly. If you wish to enhance the color by adding your tomato puree, do it now and add 1 or 2 Tbs tomato puree. Otherwise, sauce will remain a light meat color.
  • Your pack of pasta.
  • Add noodles to boiling water and a pinch of salt. Boil for 5-10 min, or until Al-dente.
  • Place the pasta on the plate and pour sauce over noodles, and serve immediately. Feel free to sprinkle on graded Gruyère cheese for a nice Swiss flavor or a nutty Parmesan! Enjoy!
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