Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Southwest Pasta Bake

Spicy.  Cheesey.  Pasta.  This is a variation on a Rachel Ray recipe I think that she calls Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake.  The first time I made it the feedback that my husband gave me was that he wanted it to have a little more kick, so I add some red pepper flakes and a little more Chili Powder.  
Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 +1/2 Cups of Shredded Cheddar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro stems removed (didn't have fresh on hand so I used the kind from the tube)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • Medium Onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 Jalepeno with the seeds and stem removed- diced (I didn't have either so I used about 1/4 cup jalepeno slices
  • 1- 14 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs of Ground Beef
  • 1 lb box of Pasta- I used Penne
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper flakes 
  • Salt
Start a large pot of water to boil.  While the water is starting to boil, brown ground beef.
When beef is almost cooked add in onion and jalepenos.
  When onions are cooked through, drain off the grease from the mixture.  Return to the skillet and add in cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.  In a sauce pan melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter.  When butter is melted add in the flour.  Cook for 1-2 minutes continuously stirring with wooden spoon.
Whisk in milk.  
When the mixture begins to bubble slowly add in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, and parsley.  Once cheese is melted pour in tomatoes.
After the pasta is cooked, drain and add it back to the large pot.  Dump in meat mixture and stir.
Next, Add in cheese sauce and mix well.
Preheat oven to 400.  Pour Pasta mixture into 9x13 baking dish top with additional 1/4 cup of Cheddar cheese and bake for about 15 minutes.
This recipe was featured on our Appetizing April Menu. Check out the entire April menu for a variety of dinner ideas!