From Cook's Country Best Potluck Recipes. Published by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen, © 2010. Reprinted with permission.
- Servings: 8.
Cook's Country is produced by Chris Kimball and the folks at America's Test Kitchen. It includes a large format and very welcoming bimonthly magazine as well as the occasional cookbook. The recipes tend to be homey, with not an exotic ingredient in sight.
Even though there's not a bit of urban edge to anything that's Cook's Country, both the magazine and cookbooks offer accessible recipes and appealing dishes, including in the new Best Potluck Recipes. With more than 100 recipes, this book also offers tips for feeding a crowd and transporting food beyond your own kitchen.
Many of the recipes are classic favorites, like this one for Chili Mac.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 28-ounce can tomato purée
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups shredded Co-Jack cheese (you can substitute equal amounts of Colby and Monterey Jack cheese)
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400° F.
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook, stirring often, until almost tender. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Wipe the pot dry. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink and is beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the beef, discarding the drippings, and set it aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato purée, diced tomatoes, sugar, the reserved pasta cooking water, and the drained beef; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. Stir in the pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle the pasta with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned, about 15 minutes. Serve.
To Make Ahead
Prepare the recipe through step 4. Cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day. When ready to bake, let the casserole sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400° F. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the casserole evenly with the cheese. Lightly spray a large sheet of foil with vegetable oil spray and cover the dish. Bake until the mixture is hot and bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook until the cheese begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes longer.