Just about everyone in my world loves pasta and Mexican food. And when I can manage to combine them into a casserole, I am happy because there are a lot of days where I have limited time before dinner and I love to be able to pull a delicious looking dish out of the refrigerator, and toss a salad while it cooks. This recipe is my own concoction and is a good one for the family (and then for leftovers) to take to a potluck, or even for company. Make it early in the day or even the day before. It is easy to make and my family really likes it—I hope yours does too.
Tex-Mex Pasta Bake
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes in juice, drained
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
1-cup chicken broth
1 14-ounce can Mexican corn
½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 ounces cream cheese
1 pound dried pasta (I used spiral)
2 cups Mexican cheese blend (cheddar and jack cheese)
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil and brown the meat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. In the food processor, place the tomatoes and jalapeno peppers and puree. Add the puree and the chicken stock to the meat and onion mixture and cook, simmering gently for 30 minutes. Add the corn, the cream cheese, the heavy whipping cream. 1 cup of the Mexican cheese blend and the salt. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and add to the meat and sauce mixture. Turn it all out into a 9 x 13 rectangular or oval baking dish, top with the remaining cup of cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbly. Sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro over the top and serve.