Ruth's Presto Pasta Night No. 6
|The very sweet Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast holds a little round up each Friday with the theme of pasta.. one of my favorite subjects! Thanks Ruth! =)|
I actually made this dish a couple weeks ago with every intention of getting it to Ruth back then.. and somehow I lost track somewhere and so the pictures sat on my Flickr account and the post was never written.. until now.
Quite possibly one of the easiest and quickest pasta dishes I've ever made. My tummy was grumblin for mac & cheese that night - but the Mr. whined that he wanted something more substantial. Go figger. And so with a quick check into my many freezers and many pantries *blush* I decided to add some ground round and a lil salsa.. give basic mac & cheese a Mexican kick if you will.
Truly this one isn't rocket science in the least. Take your favorite mac & cheese recipe, brown some ground with a lil onion and a lil garlic, toss in your favorite salsa and you've got yourself dinner - in less than 30 minutes! Take THAT Rachael Ray! :P
This quick dish was quite tasty - and there are practically a ZILLION ways you could change it up to make it your own. I think the addition of some corn kernels would have been nice, as well as some sliced black olives. He added jalapeno slices to his PLUS a few dashes of his favorite hot sauce. Instead of using cheddar cheese on top, Manchego probably would have been divine. Now that I'm thinking about it.. instead of the ground round, maybe use some Serrano ham, cut into strips - THAT sounds really good! I should probably remember that next time, eh? =) Or hey, keep it vegetarian and use black beans in lieu of the meat? The Italians use beans and pasta together for a variety of tasty dishes (bless their carb loving hearts).. why not in a Mexican type dish?
The only thing I regret about this dish is that I had no fresh cilantro in the house that night. The zing cilantro lends would have been just the perfect touch.
If you don't have a favorite mac & cheese recipe, here's the one that I used - it's pretty basic and the cheese can be changed out for whichever kind you like, but try to use cheese that melts well - you don't want grainy cheese sauce.
2 TBS. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated Fontina cheese
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the flour and milk until it comes to a boil. Continue cooking a minute longer. Add cheeses and remove from heat, stirring until cheese has melted.
After I browned the meat, garlic and onions I added 1/2 a bottle of salsa, and combined it well. Then I poured the cheese sauce over the beef mixture and stirred until it was just combined. I combined this with my pasta which was cooked al dente and threw it all (not literally) into a greased 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Sprinkled a 4 cheese Mexican blend on top and baked for 20 minutes in a 350º F. oven.
This dish is complimented perfectly with a garden salad dressed simply in olive oil & balsamic vinegar.