Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beef and Cherry Tomato Pasta Topping

My cherry tomato plants are extremely productive right now. The plants were only supposed to be 3-4 feet tall, but they are closer to 6 feet tall with tomatoes all the way to the tops of the branches. As I expected, as soon as one ripened, they all started ripening! I'm not the canning type - at least not right now - so I wanted to find a way to use all of the ripe tomatoes I had at once. It barely put a dent in the crop I've got now, but it was a great way to use about a dozen cherry tomatoes.

I call this a "topping" because it isn't really saucy. It is just saucy enough that it is kinda like spaghetti, but it lacks the oregano-y zip that reminds me of Italian food. So, I have no idea what to call this. Name it what you'd like. :)  Both my kids and my husband liked this dish a lot and said they'd be totally fine with me making it again. In my mind, that makes it a recipe worth writing down!

Not the greatest picture in the world, but you get the idea. :)  Who knew how hard it would be to take a picture of something that had yellow noodles? I served this up with a side of wax beans and pole beans (also right out of the garden).

***Beef and Cherry Tomato Pasta Topping
1 pound ground beef
12 large cherry tomatoes (I have "giant" cherry tomatoes in my garden, but plump regular cherry tomatoes are fine), cut into eighths
1 pepper, diced (I used a banana pepper from my garden, but you could use a bell pepper, or other pepper you like the flavor of)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
oil for sauteeing
1 box (8 oz.) GF pasta of your choice (I used Quinoa-Corn spaghetti noodles, but anything would work. If you want to feed more than four people, make more pasta. The topping had leftovers when I made this. The noodles did not.)

Cut cherry tomatoes into eighths, dice pepper and onions. In one skillet, brown the ground beef and drain off fat. In another skillet, sautee chopped tomatoes, pepper and onions in oil. Heat water for noodles. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart, add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and desired amount of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Simmer to allow flavors to combine. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water if desired.  Combine meat and tomato mixtures and heat through. Serve topping over noodles.

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