Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meaty, Cheesy, Saucy Pasta Goodness

I'm always intrigued with the term "one pot wonder", because, more often than not, these recipes involve more than one pot.  The following recipe falls under that category.  While it doesn't deter the flavor of the dish, the allure of one pot is quickly fallen short.

The Recipe: Ground Beef & Pasta Casserole
Original Recipe Found In:  Cooking Light, March 2016 Issue

What You'll Need:
2 small White Onions, peeled and quartered
2 large Carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt, divided
1 Pound extra-lean ground Sirloin
3 1/2 Cups unsalted Chicken Stock
6 Tablespoons sliced fresh Basil, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
12 Ounces uncooked Whole-Wheat Rigatoni
1 (26.46 Ounce) carton Strained Tomatoes
4 Ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1 Ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

To start, place the onions in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.  Add carrots; pulse until finely chopped.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a large high-sided saute pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat.  Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat.  Add the onion mixture and cook for four minutes.  Add the garlic, cook for two minutes.  Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Add the beef and cook for five minutes.  Add the chicken stock, four tablespoons basil, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta, and tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 13 minutes, or until the pasta is almost done, stirring frequently.  Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Next, arrange the mozzarella over the pasta mixture, along with the Parmigiana-Reggiano.  Place the pan in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the pasta is done.  Sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons basil.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

A super saucy mixture, added with pasta and ground beef, makes for a delightful, not so Italian dish.  The fresh cheeses and basil adds brightness, not to mention a stringy mess!  But, nevertheless, a hearty "one pot" pasta dish that will satisfy any pasta need.

Keep seeking culinary adventures, friends, you'll never know where you will be surprised.  Until the next update,


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