- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 cups (one 16-ounce jar) chunky tomato salsa
- 3/4 pound cavatappi
- 2 teaspoons lime juice or red-wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Lime wedges for serving (optional)
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the salsa and simmer over low heat to allow the flavors to combine, about 10 minutes.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the cavatappi until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve with wedges of lime if you like.
The spiciness of the salsa and chili powder combined with the acidity of the lime make a very high-acid white wine an obvious choice. We favor a Sauvignon Blanc from California.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.