Baked pasta dishes are one of my favorite casseroles to prepare because they usually always turn out good. This chili con queso pasta bake combines Mexican ingredients with penne pasta and hamburger in a casserole dish. This is sort of like a macaroni and cheese recipe. The noodles are mixed with a cheese and tomato sauce. I really enjoyed the flavor that the fire roasted tomatoes added to this recipe. The dish gets additional flavor from seasonings such as ground coriander, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. You can use other types of pasta as well if you do not have any penne—ziti or elbow macaroni are good options. Enjoy.
- 1lb penne pasta
- 1 1/2lbs ground beef
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion (chopped)
- 4–6 large cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- additional shredded cheddar for topping
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 1 (14 ounces) can fire roasted tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cool the pasta according to package directions until al delta.
- While the water is coming to a boil. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add the hamburger and brown while breaking up into chunks with a spatula.
- Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, and onions. Finish cooking until the hamburger is browned. Drain off any excess grease. Mix in chili powder, cumin, coriander, and pepper.
- In a deep saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes while whisking. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time.
- When the milk starts to bubble and thicken, stir in the cheese and cilantro. When the cheese has melted stir in the tomatoes.
- Drain the pasta once it has finished cooking. Add it back to the large pot. Add the browned ground beef and cheese sauce to the pasta. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to a baking dish. Top with more cheddar cheese. Place into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is slightly browned.