Cheesy Tomato Basil Pasta Skillet

This Cheesy Tomato Basil Pasta Skillet is a homemade version of that classic family favorite from growing up, Hamburger Helper! This recipe to me in a combination of hamburger helper, and how we would have spaghetti leftovers growing up. We’d re-heat the sauce and noodles with a few cubes of Velveeta cheese. It turned into this creamy, cheesy tomato sauce that was delicious!

This recipe can work with any protein, but ground beef is my classic go-to. Italian sausage would give it some additional great flavor. You can also use any short-cut pasta you like. I like recipes like this because its a chance to use a fun new pasta shape! There is much more of a wide pasta variety in the grocery store these days.

For me, the ingredients in this recipe are pantry and fridge/freezer staples. The only things I may need to add to my grocery list are the heavy cream, Velveeta, and fresh basil. If you don’t have access to fresh basil you can certainly add dried. The fresh just gives it a nice flavor boost at the end.

We enjoyed this as leftovers the next day as well. As long as you don’t overcook your pasta on the front end, it will reheat just fine the next day. Make sure to cook your pasta to just under al dente, because it will continue to cook once you add it to the meat sauce.

Delicious, easy, and something the whole family will love! Hope you like this Cheesy Tomato Basil Pasta Skillet! Try one of my other favorite pastas below:

Spaghetti Carbonara

30 Minute Lasagna Skillet

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Lasagna Skillet

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Cheesy Tomato Basil Pasta Skillet

It's like homemade Hamburger Helper with a secret cheesy ingredient!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Laura Doerr


  • 1/2 lb short-cut pasta
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt for boiling pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow or white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 3 oz Velveeta cheese cubed
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil minced
  • Reserved pasta water as needed
  • Additional grated parmesan for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 tbsp kosher salt. Cook pasta just under al dente according to package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Pasta will continue to cook once added to meat sauce.

  2. While pasta is cooking, combine ground beef, onion, and garlic to a large skillet over med-high heat. Brown beef and break up with a wooden spoon until cooked through, reduce heat to medium-low. Drain excess fat if needed. Stir in Italian seasoning, tomato sauce, beef broth, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer to warm through. Stir in heavy cream, Romano or Parm cheese, and cubed Velveeta. Stir until melted through.

  3. Stir in cooked pasta. Use reserved pasta water to thin out if needed. Stir in fresh basil. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve in bowls with fresh grated parmesan.

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