Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Chilli Cheeseburger Pasta

In devising this recipe I turned to my Pinterest pasta inspiration board - at the time, months ago, I was a bit hungover so the ones that stood out the most were those that were, shall we say, a bit on the dirty side.

All of these featured beef mince with cheese sauce as well as pasta: usually macaroni and most it seems based on that - would you believe - stalwart of American mid-week cooking, Hamburger (or Cheeseburger I guess) Helper. I don’t think we can buy it here: unless in the specialist food aisles of say, Selfridge, or one of the online speciality shops. Both of which meaning that you would pay a fortune for something that is the essence of convenience food.

But I digress slightly. I’ve put a kind of Mexican-inspired spin on this by spicing it up with salsa, jalapenos & spicy cheese for the sauce - at the time of cooking it was after all Cinco de Mayo. Yes, really!

But anyway, there is no denying that it is dirty, not particularly good for you, not very pretty to look at and, really, I’m unsure if worthy of a recipe. But do you know what? It tasted good and I’m sure at some point in the future in an hour of hungover need I will turn to it again and as this blog is at the least a record of my meals here it is.

Perhaps if and when I do try this again in a state of hungoverness (or perhaps I am being optimistic on that front given my current bun-in-oven-ness) I’ll endeavour to make it a one pan dish simply by foregoing the cheese sauce and just stirring in some cheese at end.

Cheeseburger Pasta
Serves 3-4

1 tsp olive oil
500g beef mince
30g taco &/or chilli seasoning
sml tin chopped tomatoes
250g salsa
2 tbsp jarred jalapenos, roughly chopped
500ml (approx) of beef stock
150g fusilli or other short pasta
For cheese sauce
30g butter
2 tablespoons flour
180ml milk
125g grated or finely chopped cheese (I used “Mexican” cheese & gruyere)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Brown the mince well in the oil, draining off any excess liquid if necessary when you are done.

Stir in the taco seasoning, salsa, tomatoes, jalapenos, and pasta. 

Stir together well then add about 400ml of stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until pasta is tender - check about halfway through and if you think it needs more liquid add the rest of the stock.

While the pasta is cooking make the cheese sauce.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan then whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 4-5 minutes until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn a light brown color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.

Continue to whisk until smooth and the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. 

Add a good grind each of salt and pepper to the cheese sauce then when the pasta is cooked pour it over the meaty pasta mixture. 

Stir gently to combine.

Serve immediately with a little extra cheese and perhaps some parsley scattered over.

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