Cheesy Beef Rotini

Pasta and cheese go together like yin and yang. Add ground beef and you get shamalama ding dang!

I bought a 3-pound package of ground beef on sale that I divided for three meals. The first of which was this scatch-made, hamburger-helper-esk pot of yummy goodness. I made this for dinner and two meals throughout the week but it will easily feed a family of four.

This is a very straight forward recipe with one element that needs special attention - the sauce.  The key to it is patience.

I use a roux made from the drippings of the ground beef as the base. Let the flour and fat cook together with the mirepoix for a couple minutes before adding the milk. It should turn a little browner during the process. The flour and fat need the heat to change chemically to become a thickener. Then add the milk and let the mixture simmer until it's noticeably thicker. Finally, add the cheese a little at a time and make sure it's completely melted before adding more. Nailing this processes will make this simple, kid-friendly meal a hit with everyone.

That's some Shamalama ding dang!

Eat well, cook often ...

Serves 4, 30 minutes
1 lb. Ground beef (73/27)
1 Onion, diced
1 Green pepper, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbs Flour
2 C milk
2 C Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
8 oz Rotini pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain set aside.

In a 4 quart pot over medium heat, brown ground beef. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove to bowl with slotted spoon, set aside. In beef drippings saute onion and green pepper until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in flour, let cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in milk and simmer until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cheese a handful at a time, stir until melted, repeat until cheese is gone. Return beef to mixture and add rotini. Heat through, then serve.

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