Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chili Pasta with Beans...

Apparently when I wasn't looking a few weeks ago, this slipped into our basket while we were at the market and I didn't notice it until we got home.

Sigh... I told you Jeff was obsessed with Mickey! Now I had to figure out how to work Mickey, Donald and Pluto into dinner.

Luckily, I didn't have to look too hard... I thought about a recipe I came across recently that used that funky wagon wheel pasta, so I swapped that shape for the Disney characters and made this Chili Pasta with Beans.

We began this one-pot dish by browning ground sirloin and a chopped onion in a skillet with a whisper of oil covering the bottom. To add some intensity to the sirloin, we used a combination of two chili powders - ancho and a hot chili blend... you could, of course, just use your house chili powder if you like. To back up those spices, we also stirred in cumin and oregano - when you add all those spices, be sure to stir them around the pan for a minute. Besides thoroughly coating the meat, the heat in the skillet will help their flavor bloom and flourish.

Now, because we are not pre-cooking the pasta, you'll need enough liquid in the pot to give it something to absorb and cook through. The original recipe called for using water, but we poured in beef broth since I had some handy - use water if you like, but why miss a chance to add more oomph if you can? Along with the pasta, we added red kidney beans, a bit of tomato sauce and fire-roasted diced tomatoes that were spiked with green chiles for that fiery thrill. Be sure to cover the skillet as it simmers - this will help trap the moisture inside, ensuring the pasta has plenty of liquid to absorb, while leaving enough leftover to keep the chili movin' and groovin'. Do keep in mind, since the skillet is packed pretty full, the pasta will take a little longer than you think to soften.

Topped with a few shreds of sharp white cheddar, this dish was hearty, completely comforting and very stomach-warming. Warming in more ways that one... it was pretty darn spicy! While not too spicy for us (though, it did get us sweating!), if you don't enjoy that heat, I'd either use a milder chili powder, just add a few dollops of sour cream, or tame the tomatoes by using regular fire-roasted instead. This also gets big points for being pretty quick to prepare and keeping the dishes down to a minimum... making for an inviting, healthy weeknight meal!


  1. that is just too cute. My would love those and I think the chili with beans too :)

  2. I really got a chuckle out of how the pasta was "sneaked" into the grocery

    Looks like a tasty recipe!

  3. That pasta is too cute!

  4. Nothing better than inviting Mickey, Donald and Pluto to a hearty dinner!

    I made this last week as well and thought it was quite good. Subbed corn for the beans because I kept forgetting to soak some ahead of time.

  5. When I paid my daily visit to the Daily Puppy today, who did I see but Gus! I recognized him even before I saw his name - that coat and those eyes are unique.

    Thanks for sharing all those great pics with Daily Puppy!

  6. Those noodles are too cute! I remember when we were little, my sister and I used to try to "sneak" treats into the grocery cart at the mom always found them though and took them out before we checked out. Jeff must be good!


  7. isn't that Goofy, not Pluto?

  8. Kimmy - Thanks!

    Mags - It happens more often than I know about, I'm sure!

    Alisa - I've warmed up to it!

    Kristin - Nice twist with the corn!

    Sobaka - We were surprised he made it up on the front page so quickly!

    Courtney - He is!

    Anon - Nope, it is definitely Pluto!

  9. Fun. My boys would eat that!
    We used to always sneak stuff in the cart when we'd go shopping with my dad. Didn't work so much with my mom.

  10. Oh, I saw Gus, too! Such an awesome looking dog.

  11. Katrina - Isn't he though! Try walking him in a public area... we don't get very far! Hee hee!

  12. too cute and looks too delish!