This was unexpected; something tasty happened to my pasta! I think I was so inspired by the recipe last week (that amazing pasta and cauli set up) and the heavenly chickpea pasta (cottercrunch) that I am now a big fan of mixing pasta with toppings. There’s something about a mild, creamy sauce, topped with a punchy topping that just works. Especially if you have fussy eaters – case in point: when I made this dish I only used garlic in the beans. Why? So that my partner could choose the amount he wanted. You see, I always want lots of garlic, and so does he usually, but on this occasion he was on his way to his first-ever-wedding. And therefore wanted to avoid garlicky lung breathing on strangers in a suit. Understandable, I’m sure. By making the beans garlic-rich and the sauce not, I could have heaps of beans and he could have just enough.
Another reason this pasta dish works is that it’s simple, delicious and easy to make. Again, I only added the spices to the beans, so the pasta becomes multi-layered. The beans are meaty, spicy and heavily flavoured. The pasta is creamy and mild. Combined they are perfect. Topped with coriander and spring onion, you become a happy eater. And that’s something I need in this house, because Chris has become a little shitty at me since I became obsessed with “Star Trek: Next Generation”. You see, he’s the only one with a driver’s license, and so every time he’s about to turn the car on I raise my hand up and gesture forwards while sombrely stating “engage”. He didn’t find the first time to be funny, so you can only imagine it by round 20 or 30 or… For the record, I am hilarious.
I am also super lucky – I recently won a wicked prize from @lotuspantry – a company that produces organic products here in Aus. I entered a Banana Bread into the comp and was lucky enough to win an organic food hamper. I’m excited to try Slippery Elm, Carob powder, pressed Cherry juice and ESPECIALLY the vegan pate (it uses Shiitake mushrooms). Iused the Black Beans in this dish, actually! I couldn’t fit the whole hamper into a pic, as it was two boxes of stuff, but here’s the one they posted:
So anyway, I called this dish “Spicy Mexican-vibe Pasta” because most of this country has the general idea that Mexican food is what Old El Paso food company tells us it is. I have no idea (I’m guessing that there’s a big chance Old El Paso is not quite on the money) but the flavours are those of my age-group who grew up on packet-mix hard tacos and jars of salsa. So Mexican-vibe as in “what I have been given the impression that Mexican people most likely eat”
The capsicums that I used were smoked and brined – super simple to find in jars. I don’t trust myself to smoke and peel fresh ones, plus the shop ones come in a cool re-useable jar. I have never struggled to find them with the jarred foods (think pickles, olives, onions etc).
What has resulted is this dish, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
- 4 red capsicums from a jar, drained(see above)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 TB cornstarch
- 2 cups mylk
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- Pasta, cook per pack instructions
- 1-2 spring onions, sliced thinly
- coriander, handful, chopped
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a frying pan with a little oil. Add the garlic and the drained beans, stirring to coat. Once the beans begin to dry out and cook (after 2-3 minutes), add in the powdered spices and stir. You may need a little extra oil if the beans are too dry.
- While the beans cook, place the ingredients for the sauce in a blender. Blend until the capsicums have broken down. Set aside.
- Once the beans have cooked (after about 6-7 minutes), remove from heat and place in a bowl.
- Return the pan to the heat, and pour in the sauce. The sauce will need frequent stirring as it will thicken rather quickly. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to thicken. Turn down the heat.
- Once the pasta has cooked, scoop it into the pan of sauce (this, as opposed to draining, leaves a bit of starch water on the pasta and helps the sauce to stick). Stir gently to coat.
- Load the bowls with pasta. Top with the black beans, coriander and spring onion. Stir together and eat!