Rachael Ray What's for Dinner Wednesday : Taco Pasta Toss


rachel ray

I try every week to add a new meal to our menu. I attempt to follow the food guru and 30 minute meal making queen, Rachel Ray. The best part of my quest is I use items that I bought on sale so these meals are yummy and affordable… and oh, yes they can be completed in 30 minutes or less!


I picked this recipe to try because we are meat challenged. My son hates meat. I know it isn’t a big deal but we are trying to expand what he will eat. He loves pasta and salad. I thought I could sneak in some meat. I will try the version without the beer because I try not to use alcohol in the food I cook for the children. I know it cooks off, it is just the point. We also have everything that is needed to make this special meal so I can use my stockpile. I am also going to try to freeze this. I have to start figuring out more meals that freeze well in anticipation of baby #3.

Taco Pasta Toss

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño chile—halved, seeded if desired and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (about 2 palmfuls)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (about a palmful)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • One bottle beer (12 ounces) or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese
  • 2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 head iceberg letuce 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 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!

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