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.


Jenn said...

I keep forgetting everyone is changing time...I love in AZ, we don't have day light savings here! This dish looks amazing! It's going into my recipe library right now!

Mary said...

Your pasta looks amazing. My go-to dish is something called Chicken Long Rice. It's made with rice noodles cooked with scallion in a highly flavored chicken broth.