Monday, February 06, 2006

Pasta with a twist

Tex-Mex Cavatappi
Food and Wine Magazine’s Quick From Scratch Pasta Cookbook Copyright 1996,2001,2002,2004

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound ground beef I used ground turkey
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 cups (one 16-ounce jar) chunky tomato salsa I used chipotle salsa
¾ pound cavatappi
2 teaspoons lime juice or red-wine vinegar I used red-wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley I used parsley
6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups) I used a cheddar-jack blend
Lime wedges for serving (optional)

1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the ground beef (or turkey) and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, salt and pepper. Add the salsa and simmer over low heat to allow the flavors to combine, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the cavatappi until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce, lime juice, cilantro and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese and serve with wedges of lime if you like.

A while back I bought an expensive jar of chipotle salsa from the wife of a coworker. I think the brand is Wildtree Herbs - it's one of those party sales thingies but there was no party, just a book. A book of expensive products.

So, of course, if you pay $8.00 for salsa (16 oz, not the big jug like Costco's peach manga salsa - yum), you aren't going to run home and eat it with store-brand tortilla chips, right? So this was just sitting on the shelf, waiting for it's moment. I saw this recipe several times before my brain clicked in and I remembered this salsa. This was such a perfect use for this salsa. I'm not sure how good this recipe would be with an 'everyday' jarred salsa - get something sassy! The only ripple was that this dish had extra tang since I added the red-wine vinegar but since lime juice was the second ingredient in this salsa, I probably didn't need to add that ingredient.

This was super, super, super (yes, three 'supers'!) simple. Not even and onion or clove of garlic to chop, just a bit of parsley, which really isn't essential (there's probably cilantro in most salsas). The cavatappi is such a beautiful and fun pasta shape but I took the last bag off the shelf and I'm frightened I won't be able to find it anymore. I have the worst time finding the pasta shapes I want (you can't even get small shells locally!)

As you can see, I'm just addicted to these Food and Wine Magazine's Quick From Scratch Cookbooks. I just can't say enough good things about these books. I'm definitely grabbing them if the house burns down.

They say salsa is the most popular condiment.
Question of the Day: How much salsa do you consume?


The Cookbook Junkie said...

I eat salsa every now and then. It's not something that we ALWAYS have in the house. Mainly, I use it in recipes. I'll buy the peach and mango salsa from Costco a few times each year. That's great slow cooked with pork, BTW.

We have a variety of condiments that we used to use a lot more when my cooking wasn't as 'fancy' (lol) but we aren't partial to any one condiment in particular (except for my husband putting French's yellow mustard on his sandwich everyday).

Randi said...

It looks really good. We're making a trip to Ann Arbor next week and I'll pick up some good salsa at trader Joes. Robin loves pasta and I think she'd really love this. We dont eat a lot of salsa because we both dont like raw tomatoes. But, if the salsa is kinda undetectible, then we dont mind it.

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks good. I like super easy! I'm going to have to give it a shot.

And as far as salsa goes, we eat a lot of it in our house. For some reason, I don't feel as guilty if I drench my chips in salsa rather than just eating them plain. And I think I eat less chips that way too.

Culinarily Obsessed said...

yummy! This does sound super simple and it looks delicious!

btw..luv your blog =) I'm a cookbook junkie too I have to admit.

Heather said...

I love Salsa. I like Jerry Seinfeld think it should be on every table, like ketchup. I really do think that a little salsa on just about anything can be good!

Anonymous said...

When I heard salsa was a fat burner I started eating it instead of cookies and milk. Now I buy 2-3 jars a week of salsa and 1-2 bags of chips thats what everyone in my house eats now for junk.