Enchilada Pasta Recipe
*Oil - drizzle of vegetable oil or nonstick spray
*One onion - sliced
*Two bell peppers (preferably red and yellow or orange...can be made green, but changes taste) - sliced
*Two cloves of garlic - minced or chopped roughly
*Two large tablespoons of pickled jalapeno peppers (yes, the kind that you use on nachos)- chopped roughly
*Beef, Chicken, or Veggie stock or broth - 8 to 12 ounces
*Cream cheese - 2 ounces
*Penne pasta - 12 ounces
*Taco Seasoning (I used Old El Paso, but homemade is fine) - about 1/2 teaspoon
Optional Garnishes (any of these jazz up the pasta nicely):
*Parmesan cheese (my favorite topping)
*Grilled shrimp, chicken, or pork chops (I generally use rotisserie chicken to make it a main meal.)
*Cooked Black Beans
*Sliced Pickled Jalapenos
In tomorrow's blog post, I'll discuss some tips for "orderly cooking," so come back tomorrow (March 29, 2014). In the meantime, here's the recipe...
1. Boil water and pasta (while doing everything else) according to directions on package. I usually put the pasta in the boiling water after step 4.
TIP: Start water boiling immediately and just let it keep boiling until you are ready to dump in pasta.
2. Heat a large saucepan to medium high. Add a tiny amount of oil (just enough to prevent sticking) to saucepan.
TIP: Always heat pan before adding oil. Nonstick sprays can leave residue on pans, so consider a drizzle of oil instead.
3. Put vegetables in pan and salt lightly.
4. Saute all vegetables (including pickled jalapenos - don't leave them out) until just soft (about ten to fifteen minutes). Stir occasionally. If they start to stick, pour in a dash or two of the vinegar from the jalapenos to deglaze the pan. (This is the magic step. Do NOT skip it.)
5. Once veggies are soft, put the pasta in the boiling water and set timer. Add half the broth/stock to veggies and lower temp to just barely boiling. Cook for about 7 minutes (to let broth reduce).
6. Add rest of broth and reduce for about 3 1/2 minutes. (It's probably time now to drain the pasta. :) )
7. Season with taco seasoning (but not too much, be careful) and pepper (as much as you want). Turn off heat.
8. Add cream cheese in small chunks and let it melt, stirring constantly, into broth.
(Yes, you could just add cream. But I don't, because I never have cream in my fridge and always have cream cheese.)
9. Add pasta and any pre-cooked meat.
(I won't add meat today, since it's a Lenten Friday and I am Catholic. With cheese, this is a perfect Lenten or vegetarian meal. It'll be even better with freshly grilled shrimp tonight when I eat the yummy leftovers for supper. Yes, this meal is BETTER leftover, because the creamy broth soaks into the pasta.)
Make sure to stir in the pasta well so the penne can get lots of creamy broth in the holes.
10. Garnish and serve.