We’re no strangers to one pan meals around here. You can’t beat them when it comes to relatively quick dinners with minimal clean up. There are some nights I want to cook really involved dinners, and there are other nights when recipes like this are more my speed.
This recipe has all the makings of comfort food – pasta, cheese, bubbling sauce – with a Tex-Mex spin. There’s a bit of heat, but Clara didn’t find it too spicy (or, as she says, “patsy”). We all loved this dinner so much that we got seconds, something that rarely happens in our house, and I was pretty happy to have leftovers for lunch a couple days later. You know it’s good when you’re eagerly anticipating the leftovers!
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
8 ounces (about 2 cups) whole wheat elbow macaroni or shells
1 cup frozen corn
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Sour cream and/or hot sauce, for serving
Heat the oven to 475º.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch, preferably nonstick, skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the beef and cook, breaking up any large pieces, until it’s no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, and pasta. Increase heat, cover, and bring to a vigorous simmer. Stirring frequently, cook until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the corn, green chiles, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and ½ cup of each of the cheeses. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta, and bake until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with green onion and remaining tablespoon of cilantro and serve.