a trip to rural New Mexico and the El Paso area) made me want something vaguely Mexican last night, so I'll start a new thread from the Cantina discussion to describe the resulting creation, a QUICK Italo-Mexican pasta fazool with chipotles!

I started with about half a bag of locally made (not by me, by a local gor-may shop) fresh tomato-oregano fettuccini. While the pasta water was coming to the boil, I minced about 1/4 cup onion (a Vidalia), 1/4 cup red bell pepper, one fat garlic clove, and about a tablespoon of fresh minced oregano from the garden. Sauteed all this in a nonstick sautee pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil until the onions and garlic were translucent, and then reduced heat and stirred in 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I like the boxed, Italian- style Pomi brand, which are plain chopped tomatoes in their own juice, no salt or flavorings) and, zee WaySekrit ingredient, 2 tablespoons of Arriba! brand (or any other) chipotle salsa. Let this sauce simmer for a few minutes, then stir in the contents of a 15-ounce can of pinto beans, two tablespoons fresh minced flatleaf parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. (HINT: I find that canned beans turn out almost as well as the dried, soaked-overnight variety provided you use the kind packed in water, not corn syrup, and drain and rinse them thoroughly and let them sit in a bowl of fresh water for a few minutes before draining and using.) Leave to simmer, covered, over VERY low heat while boiling the pasta. Stir the pasta into the bean/tomato/chipotle mix and serve with hot bread and a green salad.

This is one of those meatless dishes that's so hearty you can't believe it's vegetarian ... and it stood up very nicely to a gutsy country red wine from the South of France; a Negra Modelo beer from Mexico wouldn't have been out of order, either.