I was watching Rachael Ray's show on ABC the other day and she made something that really caught my eye! One of my favorite meals as a kid was crunchy homemade tacos. While my mom was browning and spicing up the meat, I remember sneaking in and snacking on it. Rachael made a "Taco Pasta Toss," it's basically all the flavorings you would do for tacos but you dump the shells and tortillas and toss in pasta. I never would have thought to combine Mexican and Italian flavors. They're a match made in heaven!
adapted from Rachael Ray
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta, penne rigate works well here
- 1 lb. very lean (I used 90% lean) ground beef
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- beer to deglaze the pan, you can also use broth or wine
- medium-large onion, chopped and divided (reserve a palm full for topping your bowls)
- 4 cloves garlic, grated and divided
- 28 ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ground black pepper
- tomato paste
It seems like great deal of ingredients, but that's because you're also making my homemade tomato sauce that I use for everything. I start with the sauce since it needs to simmer longest. You want about 1/2 of your chopped onions, add those to a sauce pot over medium heat with a bit of oil. I use garlic oil. Once your onions have begun to sweat, grate in 2 cloves of garlic and saute for about a minute, stirring. Add in tomatoes, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, ground black pepper, and tomato paste. Let your sauce simmer over low heat. To save time, use a jarred pasta sauce in place of the second list of ingredients.
In a stainless steel skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and onions. Once the meat has nicely browned add the jalapeno, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. You can season more with salt and pepper if you'd like, I'm being good and not salting while I cook. Cook until the onion is softened and the mixture is fragrant. While you're waiting on the beef, get a pot of water boiling. Boil the pasta until al dente.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain and toss it back in the same pot. You can deglaze your beef mixture with a splash of beer, wine, broth, or even water! To the pasta add the beef mixture along with the pasta sauce, toss to combine. I topped my bowl with a small sprinkle of cheddar cheese, chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado.