Skillet Pasta

This recipe was adapted from one that appeared in the NY Times. It is easy and will serve four people, with leftovers. Ideal with a salad and some focaccia or ciabatta bread.

Start by heating 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add 3 good-sized onions (I use a combination of white and red onions) finely sliced, and sauté until slightly browned. With the heat still on medium, add 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Stir well for a minute or two and then transfer to a bowl.

In the same skillet, pour in a little more olive oil, and add 3 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic, another teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of cracked pepper. Open a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and pour the juice into the skillet. Stir well before adding the diced tomatoes.

Separately, in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown 1/2 pound of lean ground beef. Add a little salt and some cracked pepper. Once done, add the beef to the tomato mix and simmer for 20 minutes (the beef is optional.)

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add a couple of cups of penne or rotini. Cook to a point just shy of al dente, about 9 minutes. Add the pasta to the tomato/beef mix in the skillet, mix well with a half cup of red wine, and then top with the browned onions, a cup and a half of shredded cheddar and a half cup of grated parmesan cheese. Bake for at least 20 minutes. Add a little greenery (parsley or basil leaves) for effect when done.