Russian Navy Pasta

Russian Navy Pasta, known as “Makaron Po-Flotski” (макароны по-флотски), is a classic dish deeply rooted in Russian culinary traditions. This hearty and satisfying meal, originally created to sustain sailors, has found its way into kitchens around the world due to its simplicity and rich flavor. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making this delicious recipe at home, ensuring that you capture the authentic taste of the Russian Navy.

Ingredients Needed for Russian Navy Pasta

To make an authentic Russian Navy Pasta, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 400 grams of pasta (preferably short pasta like penne or fusilli)
  • 400 grams of ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs (optional), such as dill or parsley for garnish

Optional Ingredients for Enhanced Flavor

For those looking to add a bit more depth and complexity to the dish, consider incorporating these optional ingredients:

Step-by-Step Instructions to Prepare Russian Navy Pasta

1. Cooking the Pasta

Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside, reserving a cup of the pasta water.

2. Preparing the Meat Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, heat the vegetable oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent and fragrant. This should take about 5 minutes.

Next, add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until it releases its aroma. Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it can become bitter.

3. Browning the Ground Meat

Add the ground beef (or the beef and pork mixture) to the skillet. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and cook until it is browned all over and no longer pink. This process usually takes about 10 minutes.

4. Adding Tomato Paste and Seasonings

Stir in the tomato paste, ensuring that it is well distributed throughout the meat mixture. This will give the sauce a rich, deep flavor. Season the mixture with salt, black pepper, and any optional seasonings you are using, such as paprika or red pepper flakes.

5. Simmering the Sauce

If you are using beef broth or water, add it to the skillet now. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and let it cook for about 15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of the reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency.

6. Combining Pasta and Sauce

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the meat sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. If needed, add more pasta water to loosen the sauce and ensure it evenly covers the pasta.

7. Serving the Dish

Once everything is well combined, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the Russian Navy Pasta hot, garnished with fresh herbs and grated cheese if desired.

Tips for Making the Perfect Russian Navy Pasta

Choose Quality Ingredients

For the best results, use high-quality ground meat and fresh ingredients. The better the quality of your ingredients, the more flavorful your dish will be.

Don’t Overcook the Pasta

To ensure that your pasta retains its texture and doesn’t become mushy, cook it just until it is al dente. The pasta will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the hot meat sauce.

Adjust Seasonings to Taste

Feel free to adjust the amount of salt, pepper, and other seasonings to suit your personal preferences. Taste the sauce as you cook and make adjustments as needed.

Use Fresh Herbs for Garnish

Fresh herbs like dill or parsley add a burst of color and flavor to the finished dish. They also provide a pleasant contrast to the rich, meaty sauce.

Nutritional Information

Understanding the nutritional value of your meal is important, especially if you are mindful of your diet. Here is a rough estimate of the nutritional content per serving (assuming the recipe serves four people):

  • Calories: 500 kcal
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 50 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

These values may vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients and brands you use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of meat?

Yes, you can use any ground meat of your choice, such as turkey, chicken, or lamb. Each type of meat will bring its own unique flavor to the dish.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Certainly! You can substitute the ground meat with a plant-based meat alternative or use lentils, mushrooms, or a mix of vegetables for a vegetarian version.

Can I prepare this dish in advance?

Russian Navy Pasta can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave, adding a bit of water or broth to loosen the sauce if necessary.

Is it possible to freeze Russian Navy Pasta?

Yes, this dish freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.


Making Russian Navy Pasta at home is a wonderful way to enjoy a taste of traditional Russian cuisine. This hearty, flavorful dish is perfect for family dinners or meal prepping. With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can create a meal that is both comforting and satisfying.

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