Southwestern pasta makes a satisfying meal that will feed a crowd. In this recipe, rigatoni pasta is combined with ground beef seasoned with southwestern-inspired spice blend and simmered with tomatoes, black beans and corn. The pasta and sauce are combined, topped with cheese and baked until melted.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican & Southwestern
Keyword easy pasta dinners, taco pasta bake
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 50minutes
Total Time 55minutes
1tablespoonOilUse a neutral/flavorless oil with a high smoke point (we use canola oil)
1poundGround Beefwe used beef round
1teaspoonSaltplus 1-2 tablespoon for the pasta water
¼teaspoonCrushed Red Pepper Flakesor to taste, optional
1(28 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes
1(15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1(15 ounce) can Corn, drained and rinsed
8ouncesColby Jackshredded (or Monterey Jack Cheese, Cheddar Jack, etc.)
Hot Saucefor serving - optional
You will also need: Large casserole dish and a large baking sheet
Make the sauce
In a small bowl combine the chili powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, black pepper and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir to combine.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; add the ground beef, and the prepared seasoning mix. Stir the ground beef well to combine with the spices.
Arrange the beef in one layer and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir well and arrange in one layer again. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until the meat is browned and there is little or no liquid left in the pan.
Add the diced tomatoes, beef broth, black beans and corn to the skillet. Stir to combine.
When the sauce comes to a full boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid is boiling vigorously, lower the heat just a little; keep the sauce at a simmer.
While the sauce cooks
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Cook the pasta to package directions for al dente. Drain and reserve until the sauce is done.
Build the casserole
When both the pasta and ground meat sauce combine them in the larger of the two pots. Stir well to combine.
Add half of the mixture to the casserole dish.
Sprinkle with half the shredded cheese.
Add the remaining pasta and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake the casserole for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Serve the pasta with hot sauce, if desired.
This recipe was previously made with ground turkey and chicken broth. To revert to the old recipe: substitute equal amounts of lean ground turkey (not turkey breast) for the beef and use chicken broth instead of beef broth. The remaining ingredients and instructions remain the same.
Place the casserole dish on a large baking sheet just in case it bubbles over.