Ok, so this one didn’t turn out quite as tex-mexy as I had anticipated. I couldn’t find shredded white cheddar at the store and I wasn’t in the mood to shred my own (lazy I know!) so I used a mix of white and yellow cheddar. I also got to cooking this and as it was the end of the week, I realized that I had either not purchased enough peppers this week, or poorly rationed them through earlier meals, thus no peppers. It was the very last meal of the week so all I had left in the fridge was a bag of spinach, so wilted in spinach it was!
It actually ended up tasting really good, but a bit of a deviation from the original plan :)
**This recipe comes from Rachael Ray 365 – No Repeats. Most of the recipes are directly from the book, but some I do change out ingredients a bit for things my family prefers. I’ll add my own comments in with a **.
What do you need?
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (Once around the pan)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente . Drain well and return to the pot.
While the pasta cooks, preheat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of EVOO and the beef. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the peppers and cook together for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
**I actually changed the making of the sauce a bit for this recipe. I wasn’t in the mood to dirty yet another pan, so I went ahead and cooked the onions with the beef. I removed it from the pan and used that very same pan to make the cheese sauce – I had to make use of all the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan!**
While the beef cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the EVOO and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the four, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. **I whisk in about half of my liquids to see how thick it becomes, then keep adding in more until my sauce is the perfect thickness. **
Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Fold in the beef and bell peppers. Adjust the seasonings, transfer to a large platter, and serve.
How did yours turn out??
Until the next time…
~The girl behind the lama