Queso Taco Pasta Bake

You’ll Need:

4 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 c. salsa
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 lb. ground beef
10 oz. Rotel Tomatoes
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. lime juice
3/4 lb. elbow macaroni

How To:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Place butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir to melt.  Whisk in flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper for about 30 seconds or until  bubbly.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth until smooth.  Increase heat to high while whisking until thickened, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, and salsa until cheese is melted, remove from heat, and set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add garlic and saute until lightly browned.  Add ground beef and remaining salt and pepper, cooking until browned.  Drain fat and grease.  Add tomatoes, cumin, and lime juice.  Stir to combine.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, 1 minute short of al dente.  Drain and run under cool water.

Transfer beef, noodles, and queso to a large pot (I added beef and pasta to the large pot a;ready containing the queso).  Warm over medium heat.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: n/a
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Calories: 412

Adapted from Picky Palate.