Extra Spicy Mexican Black Bean Pasta
I found this recipe on Epicurious a few years ago, and for awhile there it was a staple. Since I started this here blog, though, and have been attempting ever fancier dinners, it’s disappeared. The number of cans involved made me feel like it was just not appropriate for sharing, despite the fact that it’s really, really tasty. Yesterday I got a craving, though, and this neglected recipe called to me from the back of my recipe folder: “Eat me!” it cried. “Share me with the world!”
“Fine,” I replied, “but I’m going to fancy you up a bit.” To be honest, I didn’t fancy it up too much, and I’m sure there are better ways than those I devised. Mostly what I did was make it wayyy spicier. Which I love, but I think it brought my housemates to a sweat. Hey–if you’re going to go Mexican, don’t wuss out on the heat. Take it like a man! Or…something.
While I was eating my super spicy pasta, I thought, “Damn, this would probably be really good as a topping for enchiladas, or rice, or over a tasty carne asada burrito.” It’s versatile, is what I’m saying, but I love beans and pasta together so I suspect this will remain its most common incarnation in my kitchen.
Mexican Black Bean Pasta
- 1/2 lb. pasta, preferably something hollow like these mezze rigatoni, or some penne. The recipe recommends fusilli, but I like the way the beans can hide out in the pasta tubes like mini burritos.
- 1 T. corn or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle pepper, with a bit of the adobo sauce, also minced
- a few pickled jalapenos, minced
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 10-ounce can of enchilada sauce (probably use mild if you’re throwing in those chipotles)
- 1 or 2 big pinches of dried cilantro (don’t tell Crystal this was in there!)
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- chopped scallions and grated cheddar, to top
This is also supposed to have onions in it, but I didn’t realize until I’d returned from the market that we were out. It was fine without them, but if you’d like, add one small, chopped yellow onion with the garlic.
Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and once it’s shimmering, add the garlic (and onions, if you have them). Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant. If you’re using onions, too, saute a bit longer, until the onions start to soften. Lower the heat a little and add the jalapenos and chipotles. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes. Add the beans, the enchilada sauce, and the cilantro, stir it all together well. Lower the heat and let this simmer while you cook the pasta, probably about eight minutes. Stir it every now and then to prevent too much from sticking to the pan.
Once the pasta is finished and drained, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the sour cream, and a little salt and pepper, if you think it needs some (mine was fine without, as I suspect the enchilada sauce had a lot of salt in it). Serve it over a little pasta with a lovely scallion and cheddar cheese garnish (if your housemates don’t hate cilantro, a bit of fresh stuff on top would probably be awesome). I didn’t have enough sour cream, which is why the sauce is such a dark brick red color–it should be a little lighter. The lack of sour cream probably also contributed to the crazy heat. I even looked up other substitutes for sour cream, but we didn’t have any of the other things either. I guess it’s time to re-stock.
This is a great kitchen staple because it’s really easy and inexpensive. I guess if you really want to fancy it up, you can try to make your own enchilada sauce, and start with dried beans. And pickle your own jalapenos, if you’re feeling really crazy.