Cowboy spaghetti is a bold twist on classic spaghetti bolognese.
Loaded with ground beef and bacon, it brings a hearty and rustic flair to your dinner table.
It’s one of those spaghetti recipes you’ll turn to again and again. And one that’ll make the kids lick their plates clean.
What Is Cowboy Spaghetti?
Cowboy spaghetti is like a smoky, meaty, Americanized version of traditional spaghetti.
It features a robust sauce made with fire-roasted tomatoes, ground beef, and crispy bacon.
Better yet, it gets a fiery kick from hot sauce and umami goodness from the Worcestershire sauce.
Finish it with a generous sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, and you won’t be able to resist a second serving.
The full recipe with measurements is at the bottom of the post. But here’s what you’ll need, at a glance:
- Spaghetti: You could serve this with penne or fettuccine, but I think spaghetti works best. Feel free to experiment and let me know!
- Olive Oil, Onion, and Garlic: The first key elements that form the aromatic base.
- Bacon and Ground Beef: Bacon adds a smoky flavor, while lean ground beef makes the dish satisfyingly hearty.
- Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce: Fire-roasted tomatoes add a subtle smokiness, while tomato sauce provides the classic spaghetti sauce taste.
- Beef Broth: To enhance the meaty flavor and make the sauce more robust.
- Worcestershire Sauce and Hot Sauce: For a unique, umami taste with a nice layer of heat.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Cheddar Cheese: Melted into the hot spaghetti, it creates a deliciously gooey texture.
- Parsley or Green Onions: For a fresh, colorful finishing touch.
How to Make Cowboy Spaghetti
Cowboy spaghetti is a fun way to add a twist to your regular pasta dinner.
Here’s how to make it:
1. Fry the bacon until it’s crispy, then remove it from the pan.
2. Cook the aromatics and brown the beef in the same skillet, using the bacon grease. Cook the onions until tender, then add the beef and cook until brown. Finally, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Make the sauce. Add the tomatoes, broth, and seasonings, then simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Cook the spaghetti. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta to al dente, per the package instructions.
5. Mix it all together. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the beef and sauce. Toss/stir until well coated.
6. Sprinkle the cheese over the spaghetti and stir again until it’s melted.
7. Serve and garnish. Serve the spaghetti in bowls and top with the bacon and chopped fresh parsley or green onions. Enjoy!
Cowboy spaghetti is a versatile dish that’s perfect for tweaking to your taste or pantry supplies.
Here are a few ideas:
- Add mix-ins: Add beans, corn, mushrooms, olives – whatever you think works!
- Adjust the spice level: Amp up the heat with jalapenos, chili flakes, or more hot sauce.
- Cool it down: For a milder version, use regular tomatoes instead of fire-roasted and skip the hot sauce. Or add some room-temperature cream cheese to the sauce.
- Use different proteins: Try ground turkey or pork for a different flavor. Or try it with leftover chicken.
- Try different cheese and seasonings: Go for mozzarella or pepper jack. Or add herbs like thyme, basil, or even smoked paprika.
How to Store
I doubt you’ll have a lot left over after this tasty family dinner. But if you do, it’s easy to store for later.
Just keep in mind, it’s best to save the sauce and then make fresh pasta when you need it.
To Store: Place cold leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
To Freeze (Just the Sauce): Let it cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Do not freeze the pasta.
To Reheat: Thaw frozen sauce in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a splash of water. Serve with freshly cooked spaghetti.
If you save the sauce with the spaghetti, reheat it in a skillet with some water. The pasta will have absorbed a lot of moisture, so it will need a bit extra.
Cowboy Spaghetti Serving Suggestions
Cowboy spaghetti is great on its own, but it hits new heights with the right pasta side dishes.
- Garlic Bread: The buttery, garlicky flavor, and crunchy texture complement the rich, meaty spaghetti perfectly.
- Cornbread: A hint of sweet, comforting deliciousness to mop up the excess sauce.
- Ramen Noodle Asian Salad: For a crunchy, tangy element.
- Roasted Asparagus: A simple yet flavorful side you can feel good about devouring.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?