Friday, January 7, 2011

Enchilada Rotini

Sometimes when I come up with what I believe is a really novel recipe idea, I google it only to find out there are countless renditions already floating around on the internet. So when SPH suggested trying to come up with a warm pasta dinner dish, using enchilada sauce in lieu of a traditional red sauce, with lots of Mexican flavors, I figured there were lots of existing recipes.

I was wrong.

In my internet searches, I found a handful of cold, picnic/potluck type pasta salads that had Mexican flavors, but no true warm pasta dinner recipes. I took this as a sign to start creating.

I love this type of recipe: the base of it, basically the pasta and sauce, can stay the same, but beyond that, the sky is the limit. It can be made with meat, vegetarian or even vegan. In fact, to make this dish I sauteed up a bunch of different vegetables and told the boys to "pick any three:"

And while we used black beans, zucchini, corn, red onions, and tomatoes, you can easily customize this recipe to whatever you have on hand (other suggestions: olives, bell peppers, squash or diced chicken, beef or pork).

Enchilada Rotini

1 pound small to medium (rotini works great) pasta, preferably whole grain
1 -12 ounce jar red enchilada sauce
1 - 8 ounce tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 kinds of vegetables, about 1 or 2 cups each
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne
toppings: chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese (both optional)

Boil pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the enchilada sauce with 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Taste. Since every brand of enchilada sauce is different, test it's spiciness level to your family's preferences. If you need it milder, tone it down with additional tomato sauce.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add whatever vegetables you are using for the meal. If you have a less picky family, you can group them all together in the pan to cook at once. However, for our family, I started with the onions, then the beans, and worked my way through the list. As you cook the vegetables, use the cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne to season as you cook. Cook the vegetables until they are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and pour into a bowl. Pour the enchilada sauce on top and toss well. Add the desired vegetables, and top with cilantro and cheese, if desired.

Serves 6.

To demonstrate how versatile this recipe can be, here is my version of Enchilada Rotini:

And here is G's:

Have a sweet weekend all-


JerseyBaby said...

I love the "pick any 3" idea. Often I put out a bunch of fixings (be it for spring rolls, a salad, etc.), but I never thought to insist that there be at least 3 specific items in it. A great way to ensure a vegetable makes its way in.

Anca Prisacariu said...

love, I will try this these days!