Easy Pasta Skillet with Creamy Meat Sauce
For comparison purposes, I have also made this recipe with goat cheese. When bypassing the yogurt option, I slightly prefer goat cheese to cream cheese, but if using either one of these backups in place of the yogurt cheese, I recommend using a scant 1/2 cup and making sure to have a full cup of reserved pasta water as their consistency is thicker than that of the yogurt cheese. Realistically, if you have whole milk yogurt but no time to make the cheese, I wouldn't hesitate to simply use it as is.

Yields 6 servings.


  • 1 (16-ounce) box spiral pasta (use gluten-free as needed; may use another short tubular or spiraled variety)
  • 1 small onion (about 1 cup), diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar of your favorite marinara sauce (this is a good one)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) yogurt cheese (may substitute whole milk Greek yogurt or, in a pinch, cream cheese)
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh arugula (may substitute baby kale or spinach or simply omit if preferred)
  • For serving: freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a large, oiled skillet (14-inch diameter works well so you have room to add the pasta and toss), sauté the onion over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up as you go, until there is just a little pink showing. Add the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to barely a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the yogurt cheese and then toss in the drained pasta. Stir in enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce, and reserve the rest. Check for seasoning. Need for added salt will vary based on chosen sauce, cheese, and personal preference. Toss in the arugula and grate the cheese, to taste, over top.


  • After removing any pasta leftovers to a container for storage, you may wish to add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet. This way, you can scrape up all the lingering sauce and drizzle it over the leftover pasta. Since the pasta continues to absorb the sauce over time, the added moisture will keep the leftovers saucier.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com