I recently had to write a short bio, something to appear on another site I’m contributing to starting next week, and I struggled more than I should have. How do I summarize who I am and what this blog is in a few sentences? I don’t have a specific focus to the recipes I post, and I’m definitely not clever enough to come up with something cute or witty to describe myself. I took everything I am, at least in terms of this blog, and broke it down to the basics. I like to make and eat good food and photograph it too. As I approach the five year anniversary of starting this blog, I am reminded of that simple goal because it still describes the heart of what I do here. I don’t always have some remarkable story to share with you, but I will always share the food that we make and love.
This pasta was inspired by a dish at a restaurant Eric and I ate at shortly after moving to Richmond. I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant because we only went there that one time, but this pasta never left my memory. I have a thing for poblanos, so I knew I had to recreate it. I tried, maybe two years ago, but the results were kind of meh. I forgot about it until recently, when I saw a basket full of gorgeous poblanos at the grocery store. I took a different approach to creating the sauce and came up with a meal that rivals the one I ate more than three years ago. The gist of it is this – black beans, corn, tomatoes and poblano are tossed with pasta in a simple and spicy poblano cream sauce. The flavors remind me of a dish I used to love at Ruby Tuesday when I was in high school and college (Sonora Chicken Pasta, in case anyone remembers it). This entire meal can be made in the time it takes to boil the pasta, and it makes fantastic leftovers. And though I haven’t tried it, I have a feeling this pasta would taste just as good at room temperature or even cold.
Because poblano peppers vary so much in spice, the heat level of this recipe can vary. Last time we made it, it was insanely spicy. To cut down on the heat, you can always use regular tomatoes instead of the tomatoes with chiles.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes and one poblano and continue cooking another 2 minutes to heat through. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
Add the heavy cream and remaining poblano to the now empty skillet over medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the cream has thickened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a blender or small food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet set over medium-low heat and stir in the cheese until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the reserved black bean mixture. Add the pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time until the sauce easily coats the pasta. Stir in cilantro and serve immediately.
Cook Like a Champion original