Monday, April 12, 2010

Pasta Casa Grande

My in-laws are in the process of moving from here to Arizona. This is convenient because I made an excellent Southwestern pasta dish last night but I hadn't come up with a name for it. So when my father-in-law was telling me about nearby Casa Grande this morning, it clicked. Pasta Casa Grande!

The only recipe I used for the dinner was my Southwestern Dry Rub. Everything else just kind of fell together, based on that rub. If you are in a time crunch, you could easily use a commercial southwestern rub and store bought black bean and corn salsa.

Southwestern Grilled Flank Steak
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Pasta Casa Grande

Southwestern Cheese Bread

NMT Southwestern Dry Rub
Source: Nibble Me This

2 Tbsp chili powder
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp dried minced onion, coarsely ground
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic, coarsely ground
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, coarsely ground

Toast the cumin in a dry pan over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the cumin starts to turn color and becomes very fragrant. remove from heat.

Mix with remaining ingredients and store in an air tight container. Note: You could sub onion powder, garlic powder, and another 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, but I like using the fresh coarse grinds. They give a more intense flavor and I think they add texture to grilled meats.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Source: Nibble Me This

1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 ea tomato, diced
1/2 can black beans, drained
1/2 can corn kernels, drained
Lime juice, to taste (I used about 1-2 Tbsp)
kosher salt, to taste (I used 2-3 large pinches)
NMT Southwestern Dry Rub to taste (I used about 1 Tbsp)

Mix all ingredients and allow to chill for an hour before serving.

The steak was simply scored in a crisscross pattern across the grain. I mixed about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 2-3 Tbsp of the dry rub and used it as a marinade for the steak. Then I grilled it on the Big Green Egg at 500 degrees direct for 3 minutes-flip-3 minutes-flip-1 minute flip-1 minute-removed to a cooling rack for a 10-15 minute rest.

And finally, my favorite part of the meal. The Pasta Casa Grande! Note that this is a draft, we wrote it down after we made it and it's all based on estimates but it was one of the favorite pastas I have eaten in the past few years. I'll make it again and update this as necessary.

Pasta Casa Grande
Source: Nibble Me This

2 cups penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
2 Tbsp flour
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
1 to 1 1/2 cups black bean & corn salsa
1-2 Tbsp NMT Southwestern Dry Rub
Kosher salt to taste (I used 3 or so good sized pinches)
3 slices bacon, cut into strips and crisped for garnish

Cook the penne according to directions. Drain and return to pot. Toss in the black bean & corn salsa

Make a white sauce by whisking the butter and flour together in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the cream and milk. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese in small batches until melted. Season with the salt and dry rub.

Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta/salsa mixture.

Top with the crisped bacon.

This pasta was so good that I ate it by itself as a main dish for lunch today.