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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beef Rigatoni in an Intensely Tomato-y Cream Sauce

The Meat and Potatoes Foodie, if you have not visited Alisa's is THE time.  I don't know a ton about Alisa, but what I do know is she writes, she loves horses, she loves marinades as much as I do (YAY!), and she has some amazing looking pasta dish on her site. (ok, she's got just a ton of amazing looking dishes...pasta and beyond)!  MMMMMMMM....pasta!!!!  Did I mention this dish is....A-MAZE-ING!?!?  Chris couldn't stop talking about how good it was..and well, my mouth was too full to actually say anything, so I just shook my head and continued to devour what was on my plate.

Now, Alisa calls for transferring the rigatoni into the sauce and then tossing to coat.  I knew I was making more sauce then I was pasta (I didn't have a full pound), so I decided to just mix it once it got in the bowl.  Believe me, either way, this is a must try.  Ok, it might not be extremely healthy, but it's comforting, it's filling and absolutely delicious!

Beef Rigatoni in an Intensely Tomato-y Cream Sauce
Adapted (slightly) from The Meat and Potatoes Foodie 
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 a sweet onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
fresh ground black pepper
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lbs ground beef (I used 90% lean)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 oz. can tomato paste
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, drained slightly
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. rigatoni
Parmesan cheese

Put a large pot (with lid on) of water on a burner over high heat for your pasta.

Meanwhile, add the butter and olive oil to a large dutch oven and put over low/medium heat. Let the butter melt, then add the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some fresh cracked pepper giving a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally another 1-2 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Now add the ground beef to the onions and garlic, breaking the meat up gently (but not too aggressively) with your wooden spoon. Season with the additional salt and red pepper flakes then cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes or just until the meat is browned. No need to cook it to death at this stage - you're about to boil the hell out of it.

Carefully pour in the chicken stock and raise the heat to high. Once the stock is boiling, give everything a good stir then let simmer away until the majority of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is almost dry again (about 10 minutes.) While you wait is a good time to cook your pasta, as your pasta water should be boiling by now. Add your rigatoni, cooking ONLY to al dente - about 9 minutes.

Back to your beef mixture - once the majority of the liquid has evaporated, lower the heat to low and stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, cream cheese, salt, and oregano. Combine well and keep over low heat until your pasta is cooked.  (set aside about 1/2 cup of pasta water, just in case you need to thin the sauce out.)

At this point you can either transfer the pasta to the beef mixture and stir to combine, or you can just pour the sauce over the pasta once it's on the plate or in a bowl.  Top with parmesan cheese and ENJOY!  


Andrea said...

Please excuse me while I get a napkin to wipe the drool up off my keyboard. Wow this looks so good!! Thank you Jenn and Alisa for this delicious recipe!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Oh my Lord, Jenn. What an awesome, awesome write up! And your pictures are gorgeous. The ragu on top of clean pasta is a much prettier presentation! I am so glad you guys liked this recipe - I felt this one was special and am SO glad someone else agrees with me. I'll be making one of your marinades very soon and will give a full report! Thanks again and so glad you tried this:) And Andrea - thanks for drooling! ;)