I wanted to make spaghetti Bolognese for dinner but realised I’d run out of spaghetti, so instead of just using a different shape of pasta I decided to try out this recipe for “cheeseburger chilli”. It’s basically minced beef in a tomato sauce, served with pasta and topped with cheese. The chilli element comes from adding chopped red chilli and red kidney beans – I thought I had a tin in the cupboard but it turned out to be black eyed beans. I don’t really like those (it’s mainly the texture – I don’t eat baked beans either) so I pulsed them in a blender together with the passata to make a healthier tomato sauce with hidden veg. Both red kidney beans and black eyed beans are meant to be good to eat if you have high blood pressure, which I do, so that's another bonus.
The other thing about this recipe that stood out was the way that the pasta is cooked. This is a one-pot meal where you fry the mince and then add the pasta and water into the same pan. I used a bit too much water so it didn’t all get absorbed and I had to drain a little away, and I was worried that I was draining some of the flavour out of the meat, but it tasted really good. If you’re looking for a hearty, healthy meal that won’t mean a lot of washing up then I recommend you try this!
To serve two, you need:
half an onion, peeled and chopped
1 chilli or 1-2 tsp Very Lazy chopped chilli, to taste (err on the side of caution if you don't like it too hot!)
2 tbsp. olive oil or 1 tsp coconut oil which is what I used
300-400g minced beef depending on how big an appetite you have
100-150g pasta like penne or macaroni, ditto
150g black eyed beans or red kidney beans (the latter is preferable)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
50g grated cheese like Cheddar or Emmental plus extra to sprinkle on top if you like
If using a whole chilli, carefully remove the stalk and seeds and chop it finely. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, chilli and mince until the mince has browned.
If you don't like the texture of the beans (or have children who won't eat it if they see them) then pulse in a blender with the passata and add to the mince. Or if you have more grown up tastes than I do, add the passata and beans straight into the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Then - and this is the part I found weird - add the pasta to the pan and enough water to cover the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is cooked - you may have to drain off a bit of water. Finally stir in the cheese, and serve topped with fresh herbs and a sprinkling of cheese if you like.