Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Corn and Bean Skillet Pasta

This was meant to be an empanada recipe. A spiced pie crust (probably like the one I used in this post) would be wrapped around a seasoned fresh corn and black bean mixture. Little savory hand-held pies.

What threatened to kill me was making the crust. I just couldn’t drum up the ambition to measure and blend and roll and cut and fill and bake. I put it off until several tomorrows before I just gave up. Well, almost. I still had the nice seasonal corn, and some really good home-cooked black beans (I bought them dried from here). And so, as often happens when I’m too busy or exhausted to do what I really want, I fall back on my motto of hearty supper simplicity: When in doubt, toss it with pasta.

And that’s all this is: peppers, corn, beans, spices, tomatoes and scallions tossed with rotini pasta and covered with melted cheese. You could put whatever you like on your tacos (or in your empanadas or enchiladas or whatever) in a pasta toss like this. you could also use whatever cheeses you like or have on hand (I used Colby-jack and pepper-jack). Maybe you won’t impress anyone with your pastry skills or anything like that, but you’ll make something delicious in a pretty small amount of time. I know that’s been one of my main goals lately!

I served this simple pasta dish alongside this Zucchini Skillet Cornbread. Since the oven was already on for that, it was worth it to keep it hot just a little while longer to melt the cheeses on the top of my pasta dish. It was a good combination, I must say, and made a meal full of healthy vegetables. And I know I'm not the only one with that as another of my main goals!

Corn and Bean Skillet Pasta

6 ounces short pasta (I used rotini)
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
1 cup finely chopped bell pepper
½ teaspoon salt, divided
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1-2 fresh chile peppers, minced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup black beans
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped scallions
1 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese
½ cup pepper jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute until the pepper is browned, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and chile and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in the corn, beans, cumin, chili powder and remaining salt. Cook until the corn and peppers are tender. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the cooked pasta.

4. Stir in the scallions and remove from the heat. Sprinkle the cheeses over the top of the mixture in the skillet. Place in the oven and bake about 10 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Another recipe like this one: Pasta with Yellow Squash, Corn and Bacon

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