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Taco Pasta Toss


  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta, regular or whole grain

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin

  • 1 large onion, chopped, divided

  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, 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 semi-soft cheese

  • 2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  • 1/4 head iceberg letuce or 1/2 small heart of 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, one 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, cumin and coriander; 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, tomatoes and lettuce – just like tacos! This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to Cooking with alcohol enhances the flavors of certain dishes. Some of the alcohol burns off in the process of cooking. If you are concerned about using alcohol when you cook, you may use the appropriate substitute listed in the ingredients.