I am a big fan of Rachael Ray. I was never a fan of her '30 minute meals' tv show - but she's won me over with her talk show/food fiesta as of late.
The only thing I don't like about her recipes is when she tries to combine 2 different meals that you would never serve together into one meal. It's a weird 'thing' I have.
Today on her talk show she made Taco Pasta Toss. As I watched, I realized I had everything needed to make this dinner and so - our dinner was born...
Taco Pasta Toss
Salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta (I used what I had - macaroni)
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound ground beef sirloin (I used ground turkey)
1 large onion, chopped, divided
1 large jalapeño halved, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise (eliminated b/c of the kiddos)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder, about 2 palmfuls
1 tablespoon ground coriander, about a palmful
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin, about 1/2 palmful
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle beer or cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar, Monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese (cheddar)
2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (sweeties - grape tomatoes)
1/4 head iceberg lettuce 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, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cook 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!
My kids flipped over this! Even Mr. Picky loved it. Huge hit!! The kids had it as RR intended - served over pasta - but since I am the crazy person aforementioned, instead of having it served over pasta, hubs and I had it served over a bed of romaine with our fav dressing - such an amazing taco salad!! Yum-O!!