RR: Taco Pasta Toss

Stumbled across this gem of a recipe from Sweet Tea in Texas.  Marked it in my google reader months ago, finally made it today.  I have WAY too many recipes that I need to try.  We rarely eat the old reliables (which is quite a few that i’ve built in the 2 yrs Dan’s been back), because I want to try new things.  Maybe will limit it from now on to 1 newbie per week. 

Anyhow, this is actual a Rachel Ray recipe.  And as i’ve found with all of her recipes, the servings are off and ingredients need to be tweaked for my liking.  By the way, I am not anti-oil, but I don’t see the need to brown meat in it.   On this one, I left the servings at 6, but cut back the cheese and pasta.  Even with the cut-back, the servings are still good size.  We also like her Nacho Spuds and her Cheesy Chili Fries (both Melissa-fied of course). 

Taco Pasta Toss
Salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta (I cut this back to 8 oz)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (I skipped this all together)
1 pound ground beef sirloin (extra lean.  Chicken or turkey would be good too)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeño chile—halved, seeded if desired and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder (about 2 palmfuls)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
1 tablespoon ground coriander (about a palmful)
1/4 cup tomato paste
One 12-ounce bottle beer or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese  (I cut this back to 1 cup)
2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 head iceberg letuce or 1/2 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add three-quarters of the onion, the jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the beer.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Spoon into a serving dish, top with the cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. Top with the remaining onion, the tomatoes and lettuce— just like tacos!

Serves 6

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