Monday, January 13, 2014

Baked Taco Pasta

This is a really easy, really delicious comfort food dish that's perfect for a cold winter night. Tacos are one of my favorite foods, as is pasta, so why not combine the two??

I sort of wished I had crumbled up some Fritos or tortilla chips as a topping, to give this the sort of crunch I love from hard shell tacos, so I'd recommend giving that a try. You could add any number of other toppings too, based on your preferences - fresh or pickled jalapenos, olives, sour cream, whatever floats your boat. Make it work for you!

Baked Taco Pasta

16 oz. rigatoni noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup water
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheese
Toppings - tomatoes, scallions, jalapenos, olives, sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the pasta for the shortest time listed on the package instruction so it remains a little al dente. Drain.

Cook the ground beef in a large skillet and drain the excess grease. Add the taco seasoning and water to the ground beef and cook for a few minutes until thickened. Add cream cheese to beef mixture and stir until melted.  Put cooked pasta in a casserole dish (I used a deep 9 x 13 pan), and mix in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. Add the beef mixture to the pasta and gently combine. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and the top is beginning to get slightly brown. Serve toppings per your personal taste.

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