Spicy Chorizo & Olive Pasta
I’ve been sitting on this blog post for like three weeks now with a draft that literally only said “I’m a pasta boi” because I’m a Very Talented Writer Who Knows How to Write. I kind of descend into a shame spiral when I get writer’s block like that and so every time I’ve sat down to try to put this together it’s just been me staring at my computer sort of fruitlessly grunting. But now that I’m thinking about it, “I’m a pasta boi” really does get to the heart of the issue here. I am a pasta boi, because I freaking love to make and eat pasta. Is this a revelation? I feel the warm glow of my Italian ancestors smiling down at me. By warm glow I mean they’re covering me in olive oil.
Here’s the deal with this recipe: it came completely from a wild hair of a craving. Way back when we were in Miami, we were eating some crispy spicy meat dish and I just remember telling Beau, “This would be fucking amazing with some olive salad on it.” And from that point ‘til I made this recipe all I could think about was combining spicy meat with assorted pickled vegetables and gorging myself. And then of course making it a pasta dish because, pasta boi.
I’d never really heard of anyone making pasta this way, with a chorizo meat sauce and olive salad mixed in, and so I couldn’t find an existing name for it. I joked about calling it “Pasta Covingtonese” after the small town we live in, Covington, Louisiana. Beau laughed (more kind of at me than with me) because that name has major dad joke vibes—which has sort of been my brand since I was 12 anyway, so I think I’m sticking to it. I did do a search later on and found some people calling chorizo & olive pasta “Spanish Pasta” which isn’t far off based on the ingredients, but that just sounds vague as hell. So while I guess I can’t take credit for being the brilliant inventor of this sickening flavor combo, I’m definitely going ahead and renaming it, and I hope you don’t take umbrage with that.
All in all I’m honestly so thrilled with how this came out. It hits all the corners of the mouth in just the way I wanted it to. It’s appropriately fatty, slightly spicy, and the addition of the olive salad with just a squeeze of a lemon gives it a really great bright acidity, too. Just one of those yummy af dishes that I think we’ll be adding to our regular repertoire, and I hope you like it, too!
Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce & Olive Salad
OR, Pasta Covingtonese
makes 4-6 servings
8 oz. pasta of your choice, prepared according to package prior to starting the recipe, with 3/4 cup of the starchy pasta water reserved for the sauce (see notes)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced (or about 2 tablespoons minced)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 lb. 90/10 ground beef (see notes)
1/2 lb. bulk chorizo
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup olive salad or giardiniera (see notes) + more for garnish
juice of 1 medium lemon (or about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare your pasta according to the package instructions, setting aside 3/4 cup of the starchy pasta water after the pasta is done boiling.
Begin the sauce by heating oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. Once the butter has fully melted, add onions and a dash of salt and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally to keep onions from burning, until the onions begin to turn a bit translucent (approximately 8-10 minutes). Add garlic, shallot, red pepper, oregano, and sprinkle with another dash of salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, approximately 5-7 minutes. If onions begin to blacken or get crispy at any point, lower the heat to low.
Add ground beef and chorizo to the skillet with the onions and add a dash of salt. With a fork or wooden spoon, break it up and combine thoroughly. Cook until fully browned. Add the 3/4 cup of starchy pasta water to the meat sauce, stir to combine, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the sherry to sauce and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and stir in your olive salad and lemon juice. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper to your liking.
Add the pasta to your serving bowl, top with the meat sauce, and use tongs to combine, making sure the pasta is evenly coated. Serve immediately, garnishing with extra olive salad if desired.
pasta—we tend to eat vaguely grain-free for the most part, so as pasta lovers we are new superfans of this Banza chickpea pasta. It’s got like… protein and stuff, and it tastes and feels really no different than regular pasta. This is not a sponsored post but if y’all Banza people are reading this, heyyyyyy call us 😘
ground beef—I don’t recommend going any fattier than 90% lean ground beef. The chorizo, olive oil, and butter definitely give the dish enough fat as it is.
olive salad—when coming up with this recipe I was picturing the olive salad that’s used in New Orleans muffulettas. It’s delish, and in the New Orleans area you can usually find it at your grocery store’s olive bar, but I know it might not be available everywhere; if you can’t easily buy muffuletta olive salad you can either make your own or substitute tapenade or giardiniera. Not quite the same, but they’ll do! If you use the giardiniera, I’d suggest chopping it up into smaller bits since giardiniera tends to come as larger chunks than would really work for a pasta.