This is good. It’s a bunch of all good things mixed together with a bunch of pasta and baked in the oven. Cheese is involved (actually quite a lot of cheese), so naturally there is meltiness. There’s really nothing to complain about.
I made it a little differently from the original (from Bakeaholic Mama). For starters, I halved it. It still filled a baking pan, and the leftovers lasted us for a few days. Sure, it’s just the two of us – if you have a houseful of hungry kids I imagine it’s different – but it was still tons.
Except I didn’t just halve everything straight up. I used the whole green pepper like the original recipe, the amount of onion I used was about equivalent to the full recipe’s amount, and I used the full can of beans. But I decided this was fine, because I also, um, forgot the salsa. So I kind of made do with the vegetables that would have been in a salsa, using a bit too much so as to make up for what was missing. And I also chucked in some tomato sauce to make up for the missing sauciness. So it probably bears merely a passing resemblance to the original, but that’s fine, it’s still good.
Taco Pasta Bake
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 box short pasta – I used radiatore
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, or half a bigger one, diced
1/2 brick of cream cheese, room temperature
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
1 cup salsa, or reasonable facsmile
1 tbsp chipotle powder
Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large skillet, brown the beef with the peppers and onions.
Stir in the cooked pasta and both cheeses until the cheese coats everything more or less evenly.
Stir in the sour cream, salsa, beans, and chipotle powder.
Spread evenly into a casserole dish.
Top with the crushed tortilla chips and tomatoes (we had a serious discussion over what should go on top, and we ultimately came to the decision it should be tomatoes on top, but do what you need to do).
Bake for 30 minutes.
I wish I had actual salsa to have used, but that’s my one regret about the dish. But the creaminess from the cheeses was nice to have as the defining flavour, so I suppose on balance it’s fine.