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Playing Taco Pasta Toss


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 1 large onion, chopped, divided
  • 1 large jalapeo halved, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 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 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 lettuce or 1/2 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped


Serves: 4


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 jalapeo, 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!