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.


  1. Oh yeah baby, this sounds wonderful Chris!

  2. Chris,
    This sounds divine, and I will add the ingredients we are missing to the grocery list for the weekend, would be great kept in the color the pasta and ate on the boat as we often do. The redfish are jumping in the boat, lost a 30lb'er on Friday with an inexperienced fisherman. Let a few tips on my post for your fisherman yesterday, check it out for some rigging pointers, great to talk to you again
    Captain John

  3. I love the sound of that rub and that pasta must be awesome.

  4. Oooh, this looks so good, and I love the salsa recipe. I have always liked corn in salsa.

  5. I love that plate!

    The rub sounds fantastic - all of my favorite spices in it and of course the steak is perfectly cooked.

    The pasta sounds tasty and so flavorful - everything is better with crumbled bacon on top.

    By the way, you rock too!

  6. I do not care what you call it, I am calling it mine! Plate it up, I'll get ur done!

  7. What a great looking meal and very creative pasta dish. I'm sure your in-laws were impressed - I sure was.

  8. Once again, I was so distracted by that beautiful meat, that I didn't hear a word you said. What?

    P.S. I suppose that could be interpreted wrong. Stop it.

  9. Finally! Somebody besides me toasts cumin seeds before grinding them into the best cumin ever!!!

  10. Sounds like a winner - I've printed it out and it's in my "to make" pile...if only I can live another 78 years I'll be able to make everything in that pile! Hey, thanks for the heads up about Google Alert - there as another blog out there with the same name as mine...using my stuff!!! Sheesh, where do these people get their nerve?!? Anyway, they've disappeared for the time being...but I wouldn't have known without your tip! xo, Nan

  11. This pasta is definitely "grande" in many ways. Flavor. Awesomeness. Creaminess.

    Your in-laws are very lucky. They are in for some good. Food.

  12. Incredible pasta dish of course with a Spanish name, can I've lunch with you tomorrow? Formidable meal :)

    All the best,


  13. I keep running across recipes for black bean and corn salsa today. I think that's a sign I have to make a batch!

  14. As always, Chris beautiful. What a great meal to create and serve up to your in-laws in honor of their move to Arizona. Great dishes.

  15. I want to come to your house to eat! This looks fantastic. My family LOVES Mexican/Tex-Mex so I'm sure they would dive right in.

  16. mmm....looks great. I wonder how your smoked pepper jack would've tasted with this.

  17. Your pasta definitely looks so full of flavor. I can't wait to make it for my family. Great recipe!!


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