this dish should really be called the "omg, it's already been a crazy long week but it's still somehow only tuesday!" pasta. but that title seemed way too long/crazed/distressing for an actual title for anything, so instead, you get a basic recipe name and my long, rambling intro.
long, rambling explanation aside, this pasta is GOOD. it's hearty, it's briny, it's a little bit spicy, and it's basically everything you want with a giant glass of red wine. it also only takes about 30 minutes to make, which means it's the perfect dish to satisfy you after an extra-long workday, or on any chilly fall or winter day, or pretty much anytime you're craving something filling and stick-to-your-ribs good, but don't really feel like doing a lot of actual cooking.
you're welcome. :)
8 ounces rigatoni pasta
½ large spanish onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups total)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green frying pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup total)
8 ounces ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 fluid ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped, pitted green olives
3 teaspoons capers
2 tablespoons harissa (use mild or hot, depending on your spice preference, or substitute canned, crushed tomatoes if you want to leave out the heat altogether.)
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
how to do it:
1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain, reserving about 4 fluid ounces pasta water, and set aside.
2. add 1 tablespoon olive oil to large skillet, and heat over medium. add onion to pan, and a dash each salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. add green pepper, minced garlic, and cumin seeds to pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
4. add ground beef, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, paprika, and dried thyme to skillet, stirring and breaking up beef with a spoon. when beef no longer looks pink, add cauliflower florets. cook 5 minutes.
5. to pan, add reserved 4 ounces pasta cooking water, tomato paste, and fresh lemon juice (i recommend coming these 3 ingredients in a separate container before throwing them in the skillet. this will ensure they're thoroughly combined before being added to the other ingredients, and that everything else is thoroughly and evenly coated with the flavorful sauce.)
6. turn heat down to low and stir in green olives, capers, and harissa sauce. cook 2 minutes on medium-low and then turn off heat. gently toss or fold in the pasta and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.