Recipe by HeatherFeather
This was my entry in the Zaar Ready Set Cook Contest. I gathered the contest ingredients on my counter and just started cooking. I kept tasting and adding different flavors until I got something I could be proud of. The day I made this, my daughter had one of her friends over and they were my taste testers. They loved it and I hope you will too.
- 1⁄2 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions,drained
- olive oil or butter, to taste,to toss w/cooked pasta
- 1 lb ground chicken or 1 lb lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, approximately
- 1 medium zucchini, unpeeled,thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded,halved,& cut into long thin strips
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
- 1⁄2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, approximately
- 1⁄2 teaspoon seasoning salt (such as Lawry's)
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder or 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon new mexico chile powder (ground dried chile - NOT chili seasoning)
- 2 -4 dashes bottled hot sauce, such as crystal's or tabasco,to taste
- 3⁄4 cup evaporated milk or 3⁄4 cup half-and-half cream
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1⁄4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- additional sour cream
- fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Directions See How It's Made
- Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.
- (Start boiling the water for your pasta and cook it according to package directions.) Meanwhile, add approximately 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp fresh chopped garlic to a large,heavy,deep nonstick skillet and set the heat to medium-high.
- Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, stirring often,to brown the meat, breaking up any lumps with your spoon so it crumbles.
- Once the meat has fully cooked (about 5 minutes or so), use a slotted spoon to remove it to a small bowl and set aside; drain any remaining fat/oil from the pan and wipe dry with a paper towel (watch out for your fingers).
- Using the same skillet, add approximately 1 teaspoon more oil to the pan, along with 1 teaspoon of garlic and all of the chopped red onions.
- Saute,over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent& lightly browned, stirring often.
- (Don't forget to check on your pasta).
- As soon as the onions have softened a bit and are lightly browned, add the peppers to the pan and continue to stir about 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the zucchini and the corn, stirring to coat well.
- Add the seasoned salt and about 8 grinds of black pepper, stirring well to coat the vegetables.
- Let the veggies cook about 5 minutes- stirring often- until they are still a bit crisp, but just beginning to soften& brown.
- (Check on your pasta again).
- Return the meat to the pan, and also add all of the remaining spices (cumin,Cajun seasoning, Ancho Chile powder,and a 2-4 splashes of hot sauce to taste), stirring to combine.
- Lower the heat just a bit to medium and slowly pour in the evaporated milk, stirring constantly to blend.
- Add the sour cream and the cheese and stir until everything has blended together.
- Raise the heat back to medium-high and let the sauce cook down just a bit- about 5 minutes or so, stirring- it will be quite thin, you may a dd a little more sour cream if you prefer it a bit thicker.
- Test the flavor for seasonings- adding a little more salt, hot sauce, cumin,etc if needed to suit your tastes.
- Toss drained, hot pasta with a little olive oil or butter to taste- just enough to keep it from sticking together (optional step).
- Divide pasta among 4 large dinner plates and ladle out the sauce into the center of each.
- Place a dollop of sour cream in the very center of each portion and sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro leaves over all.
- Serve immediately.
- NOTE:*You may use prechopped, bottled fresh garlic if desired.