I know, I know, this isn’t really goulash at all.  But apparently it is what my mom referred to as goulash.  I don’t have a lot of memories of the various dishes my mom cooked, which makes me sad, but I do distinctly remember a cheesy, saucy baked pasta dish that contained sour cream and green onions – and Mom called it “goulash”.  I never thought twice about the name at the time, of course, I just wanted more of that yummy pasta!  Since becoming interested in cooking, I was inspired to make this old favorite.  I dug through all of her recipe boxes and cookbooks but nothing called goulash or even resembling this dish was to be found.  What a bummer!  I thought briefly about attempting to recreate it, but I didn’t think I would be able to make a close approximation since it is nearing 20 years since I enjoyed her version.

You can imagine my excitement then, when a week or two ago I was browsing food blogs and came across this recipe.  It looked and sounded just like Mom’s goulash.  I made a few changes, but this recipe turned out to be the perfect base in finding my way back to Mom’s casserole.  It tasted exactly like I remember – it even brought back memories of which dish she baked it in.  I can’t help but wonder if this is a meal that my kids will remember and want to make in their own homes someday.


1 lb. ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt
1/3 cup water
1 lb. tube pasta, such as penne
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
½ cup chopped green onions
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

  • 02

    Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling it up as it cooks.  Drain off the excess fat, if necessary.  When the meat is no longer pink, stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, basil, oregano, and salt to taste.  Stir in the water.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes.

  • 03

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the pasta just until al dente.  Drain well and set aside.

  • 04

    In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, and egg.  Mix well to blend.  Stir in the green onions.

  • 05

    To assemble, spread a very thin layer of the sauce mixture over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the pasta.  Spread half of the sour cream mixture over the pasta, then top with half of the remaining sauce.   Repeat layers with the remaining pasta, sour cream mixture and sauce.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over the top.

  • 06

    Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.


  • Kris Stewart

    This is pretty close to the original! I made this for our kids all of the time and your mom and I laughed about how it was goulash that wasn’t really goulash! My version used elbow macaroni and american cheese. This version sounds better!

  • WorkingChef

    This is what is considered goulash where I live also. Looks good for a cold winter night.

  • Aww, I’m sure there are a lot of recipes your kids will look back on and want to repeat. Particularly all that baking you do!! Wonderful recipe here :D

  • Annie

    Kris, I wondered if you would know Mom’s version. Glad to hear I’m close to the “real” thing :)

  • I love it when I run across recipes that hit that magic nostalgia spot. ;) This looks yummy.

  • There’s an interesting blog topic: things our mom’s called by the wrong name that we didn’t realize were wrong until many years later. my mom stuffed leftover meat and veggies into mashed potatoes, almost shepherd’s pie style, and baked them in little balls, and called them a knish.

  • This looks like the perfect comfort food! I’m so glad that it turned out exactly how you remembered!

  • Missy

    My family makes a dish very similar and we call it Spaghetti Casserole. This is definitely a great dish, regardless of the name!

  • Julie

    My great aunt wrote a cookbook about 5 years ago and she has a recipe similar, there are some variations to yours (i.e. we use 8 oz cream cheese and no egg). My aunt calls it Husband’s Delight and it is a comfort food for my entire family.

  • This looks wonderful – very different from goulash recipes I have. I think my family will like this much better – thanks for sharing!

  • Paula B.

    Agree with Liz, your kids will have so many memories of the dishes you will make for them, and a record of the recipes! The goulash looks so perfect for a week of multiple snow storms and frigid temps,so filling and comforting! Will be baking this soon.

  • So neat! And, funny, because I just made my mom’s “goulash” to post on my blog. Don’t plan to post it for a little bit yet, but comforting to know that my mom wasn’t the only one calling something goulash that probably isn’t really goulash!

    Sweet memories for you!

  • Jen

    I know the feeling. One of my projects for this year is to electronically save all of my mother’s old recipes. As I’ve been sorting through them I see the few tattered, splattered cards that bring back so many memories.

  • Looks wonderful….my family would love this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Toya

    This sounds and looks so good can’t wait to try it.

  • I’m glad you were able to recreate something so special to you. Your adaptation looks and sounds delicious!

  • It’s funny how kids suddenly make you aware of the food you serve. There have been so many times that I have made something and wonder if it will be something that memories are made of for my son.

  • What a warm, inviting comfort food dish. Gotta love mom’s recipes. You can’t go wrong with a family favorite. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe – I’m sure you did your mom proud with this one!

  • I agree with the above posts and think your kids are going to remember soooo many of your awesome recipes, I know mine will remember the ones you share :) So thanks!!!!

    I live in Budapest, Hungary now and didn’t really know true goulash until I moved here and it was NOTHING like what I had as “goulash” in the states… so it was a new experience for me and it is AMAZING and yummy.

    Glad you were able to replicate your mom’s recipe… that is really special and a great memory to pass along to your kiddos!

  • My mom made a similar dish and called it goulash. And I remember the dish she made it in as well, a big porcelain casserole dish with a lid covered in vegetables. It was such a cool dish.

  • Erin K.

    It kind of reminds me of baked ziti… either way, it looks delicious!

  • reminds me of lasagna. actually had vegetable lasagna this past weekend but ill definitely try this recipe the next time i want pasta!

  • I love how certain dishes can bring back so many memories. :)

  • Jeannette

    What a beautiful reflection Annie…I love when you share your stories with us :) And your recipes of course! This looks like a great one…my kids are going to love it…what’s not to love?!!? can’t wait to try…thanks for sharing ;)

    Jeannette M.

  • This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it!

  • Judy

    Annie, This is such a sweet story. My mom can’t cook anymore so my sis and I have been making her recipes. We have such a great time while doing it. I’m so glad you have this memory.

  • Nora

    Annie-I remember eating this at your house. It was so good and I am going to make it soon. Hope you are all well. Tell your dad I said hi! Nora

  • I know the name sounds awful, but my mom used to make this for us when we were kids at home. I haven’t had it in years, looks so good!

  • What a sweet post, Annie. The only thing better than a hot, home-cooked dinner is a hot home-cooked dinner with nostalgia.

  • Sharla

    I made this Thursday night and it was a huge hit with my family. They fought over the leftovers. Thank you for a great recipe, love your blog, I check it daily and have for over a year now!

  • I admit – I was a little leery of this – but I have been craving goulash and I have loved every other recipe you have put on here – so I gave it a try. WOW! Everyone in my house loved it – even my son (who hates everything except Doritos and boxed mac n cheese) said, “This stuff rocks!” Thanks for sharing – I think this is our new goulash recipe! There wasn’t even any leftovers!

  • Made this for my family, and we all loved it.. it reminded me of the goulash my mom made for my family, and as such, I tucked it into my family cookbook.

  • I made this for the 2nd time last night – we love it at our house!
    Thanks for all of the great recipes that you share!

  • Rebecca

    Made this..it was really yummy. One of the best pasta casseroles ever!!

  • Is your mom Polish or Hungarian? We [in Poland] name “gulasz” a meat dish with sauce.

  • Jill

    Thanks so much for sharing – this was delish and so easy!

  • carla

    Just finished assembling this; going to get it in the oven in about an hour so I will keep it in the fridge. Some casserole type dishes like this should be covered for a bit then uncovered to finish cooking, would that be the case here? I am always concerned about the top drying out. Thanks for this & so many other excellent recipes!

  • Annie

    This one is fine as written. Enjoy!

  • Jennifer

    Made this for Valentine’s Day dinner!! With a busy 9 month old and one on the way, (and a gaggle of Kindergarteners hopped up on sugar) homey seemed a lot more doable than fancy! It tastes a lot like an easy lasagna! Goulash and Casablanca. Not a bad way to celebrate love.

  • Jordan

    Although I’ve never even heard of “goulash,” I decided to make this the other day. It turned out delicious and my fiancé loved it! He commented the next day that it reheats really well too, which is always a bonus :)

  • Sommer

    I made it vegetarian by using onions and mushrooms in the sauce instead of meat and it was delicious!

  • Melanie Petersen

    Hi Annie, I have been using meals that you can freeze some of them for later. Would this recipe freeze well?

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried freezing this so I’m not sure. Most pasta dishes are okay but I’ve read many times that sour cream doesn’t freeze well. I wish I had a better answer for you!