Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Delicious Dinners: Pasta

I love to cook, and after all the cookbooks that I got for Christmas, it's time to try some new recipes! I made this dish about a week before Christmas, but since I haven't had time to cook much since Christmas, I thought I would share this new favorite from Ms. Rachael Ray. Enjoy, and let me know what your thought about it after you try it.

Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats

Coarse salt
1 pound penne rigate
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (twice around the pan)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander (I omitted this because I forgot to pick it up at the store, and it worked just fine)
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder (I used regular chili powder)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used skim and it worked well)
2 1/2 cups shredded smoked cheddar (I used regular cheddar. Couldn't even find smoky cheddar in my store.)
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls), chopped
1 14-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
4 scallions, chopped, for garnish

1. Preheat broiler to high and place the rack eight inches from the heat.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked - a little chewy at the center.

3. While the water is coming up to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the beef to the hot skillet, seasoned with the cumin, coriander, chipotle chili powder (or just the regular kind), salt and pepper, and cook until lightly brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno and continue to cook for 5 minutes. While the beef is cooking with the onions, make the cheddar sauce.

4. In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro, and parsley with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper, stir in the tomatoes, and remove the cheese sauce from the heat. [Really, remove it or the bottom of the pot will be covered in brown cooked milk when you are done!]

5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot, add the contents of the chicken skillet and all of the cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish and place under the broiler to lightly brown. Garnish bowls of chili con queso mac with chopped scallions.

My husband LOVED this dinner, and he is really a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so this was a great addition to our normal recipe rotation. I will admit that this dinner did make a LOT of dishes. After we finished eating, I looked around the kitchen and thought to myself, WHAT HAPPENED? Luckily, my husband helped with the cleanup... but just a warning for you- you might make a few dishes.

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