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.

  • Yield 1 9x13 pan


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.