Monday, March 15, 2010
Rotini with Ground Beef, Zuchinni, and Feta
This time change is killing me. Between that, the rain, and not being at SXSW, I'm not a happy camper. Good thing I made a boatload of this pasta last night. It'll cure what ails you. Seriously, this is worth getting into a bad mood for just so you have an excuse to make it.
What kind of food gets you through a rough patch?
Rotini with Ground Beef, Tomato Paste, Zuchinni, and Feta
Serves a small army.
1 tablespoon olive oil, or just enough to coat the bottom of your dutch oven
1 large shallot or small onion, minced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
2 medium zuchinni, diced
2 lbs ground sirloin, preferably grass fed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
good grating fresh nutmeg
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste (Muir Glen is my favorite)
final pinch kosher salt
additional grating of fresh nutmeg
1 (1 lb) box rotini pasta
handful of kosher or sea salt for the pasta water
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
ladle or 2 of the pasta water
5 oz feta cheese, crumbled plus 1 oz extra for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
additional red pepper flakes, optional
Put a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, add a handful of kosher or sea salt.
At the same time in a separate medium-to-large dutch oven, add the olive oil and put over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a good grating of fresh cracked pepper. Cook until the veggies begin to sweat, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if the garlic begins to brown too quickly. Add in the zuchinni and cook until it begins to soften - about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the beef along with the additional salt, red pepper, oregano and nutmeg. Break the meat up with your spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until just browned - about 12-15 minutes.
Once browned, add in the tomato paste, stirring well to incorporate. Season with an additional pinch of salt and a little more nutmeg. Cook on medium 2 more minutes, letting everything thicken. Turn the heat to low just to keep the mixture warm, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom isn't burning/sticking. At this point, add the pasta to the boiling, salted water. Cook until JUST al dente - about 6 minutes.
Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the pasta, piling it over the meat sauce. Add the parmesan over the top and a ladle or two of the pasta water. Gently stir to combine then add in the feta and flat leaf parsley stirring well. Taste for salt/pepper making any adjustments necessary.
Serve hot, with additional feta and parsley sprinkled over each serving, and red pepper flakes if desired.