Southwestern Tomatillo Pasta

Tomatillos

The sauce for this lively fusion dish is made with fresh tomatillos. Once an exclusive domain of specialty markets, they are now available in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Tomatillos will remind you of small green tomatoes and have a distinct, though not spicy, flavor.

Serves: 6 to 8

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced,
    or 1 4-ounce can chopped mild green chiles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

 

  • 1 cup cooked fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups cooked pink, pinto, or black beans (about 3/4 cup raw)
    or 1 1-pound can, drained and rinsed
  • 10 to 12 ounces rotini or rotelle
  • Salt
  • Minced fresh cilantro for garnish
  • 1 cup grated Vegan Monterey Jack cheese for topping, optional

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until the onion is golden. Transfer the mixture to a food processor along with the remaining sauce ingredients. Process until coarsely pureed. Transfer back into the saucepan and simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the corn kernels and beans and simmer just until they are heated through.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.

Combine the cooked pasta and sauce in a large serving container and toss together. Season to taste with salt, toss again, and sprinkle a small amount of cilantro over the top. If desired, top with the grated cheese and bake in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes or in a microwave on high for 2 minutes, until melted. Serve at once.

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