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This Taco Pasta Bake is a hearty and comforting Mexican-inspired pasta casserole that is quick and easy enough to put together on a busy weeknight.
I got this recipe from my sis a long, long time ago. I guess I should clarify which sister, since I’ve got four. I’m talking about this one. I once nearly fought to death over the last Ho Ho with this girl. It was an intense battle but in the end, she won. She became a vegan a few years ago so I get all the Ho Ho’s now.
She made her version of this Mexican inspired pasta dish for me eons ago; after the Ho Ho incident but long before she became a vegan. I liked it so much I wrote it down and tucked it away. I came across it not that long ago and instantly remembered how much I loved the stuff.
It’s a hearty, comforting, satisfying pasta dish that is quick and easy to put together on a busy weeknight.
Can’t decide on Mexican or pasta? Have both!
The grocery list – Campanelle or other dry pasta, onion, garlic, ground beef, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce, taco seasoning mix, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of diced green chiles, shredded cheddar and jack cheese, green onions, and cilantro. Sour cream makes a great garnish for this so be sure to have some on hand.
I am in love with campanelle. It reminds me of little pieces of lasagna and it is perfect in this. You could also use a variety of other dry pastas, like fusilli, penne, or rigatoni.
I like how the edges of each piece curl up and hold on to the meat and sauce. You want to cook the pasta a couple of minutes shy of the package directions since it will have some time in the oven later. While the pasta is cooking, we’ll get started on the “taco” part of the recipe.
Coat a large pan with cooking spray and place it over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onion, and garlic. Cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Drain as much grease from the pan as you can and return the pan to the heat.
I always have some homemade taco seasoning in my pantry but you can use the store bought variety if you prefer. Whatevah works!
Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced green chiles, and the taco seasoning mix.
In go the drained black beans. Mix it all up and let it simmer over medium low heat while the pasta is cooking.
Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pan it cooked in. Add the ground beef mixture and 1/2 cup of each of the shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.
Mix it all together.
Lightly coat a lasagna pan or other large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the pasta mixture to the pan. Top with remaining shredded cheese and chopped green onions.
Pop it in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till it looks like this. Heated through and bubbly.
You want to wait until it comes out of the oven to sprinkle it with the chopped cilantro so it will be bright and happy. If you put the cilantro on before it goes in the oven, it will get all wilted and sad.
Top each serving with a little bit of sour cream.
There you have it. Mexican food combined with pasta; the best of both worlds.
Taco Pasta Bake
- 16 ounce package dry pasta of your choice (campanelle, fusilli, penne, rigatoni)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
- 15 ounce can black beans, drained
- 4 ounce can diced green chiles, mild
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese divided
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 4 green onions chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- sour cream for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, boil pasta a couple minutes shy of package directions.
- Coat a large pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook ground beef with onion and garlic, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks, till no longer pink. Drain grease from pan and return to heat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning mix, beans, and diced green chiles. Stir to combine and allow to come to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.
- Drain water from the pasta and return the cooked pasta to the pan it cooked in. Add meat mixture and 1/2 cup of both the shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese (1 cup total). Mix well.
- Transfer mixture to a lasagna pan or large baking dish that you have coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with chopped green onions. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.
- Serve with sour cream.