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Baked Taco Pasta Casserole
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4.5 from 2 votes

Baked Taco Pasta Casserole

Baked Taco Pasta Casserole is a quick weeknight meal made with taco-flavored beef, big pasta noodles and a creamy cheese sauce. Ready in just 30 minutes, this taco casserole is perfect comfort food!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1.25 ounce taco seasoning packet
  • 10 ounce enchilada sauce
  • 16 ounces combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar cheese, grated or chunked ... divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder .. optional
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  • To make this taco pasta casserole, start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and spraying a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.
  • Next, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook your pasta, minus 2 minutes from the cooking time on your pasta box. Drain your pasta and set aside.
  • While your pasta is cooking, begin browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease and move meat to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • Add butter to the same skillet and when melted, whisk in the all purpose flour. Let cook while whisking for 1-2 minutes. Pour in milk and chicken stock and whisk to combine with the flour mixture. Bring to a low boil.
  • Stir in spices, taco seasoning and enchilada sauce. Add in most of your cheese, remove from heat and stir until cheese has melted. Add the meat and pasta to the skillet with your cheese sauce and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes, remove and let sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Ground turkey or chicken can be substituted for the ground beef.
  • Serve with sour cream and diced tomatoes on top if desired.
  • You can use any short pasta that you have on hand for this recipe but I prefer rigatoni or ziti. #bignoodles 
  • Depending on your taste for spices, feel free to use regular taco seasoning or grab the spicy taco packet if you are brave.
  • Homemade enchilada sauce is easy to make and tastes amazing but feel free to use a can of sauce from the grocery store if you prefer.
  • Pre-packaged cheese are convenient but will bake up greasy. Use a block of cheese instead. Shred by hand, throw into a food processor or just cut into chunks and melt in your sauce. Always a tastier option than bagged cheese.
  • As much as I love Monterey Jack cheese, sometimes it too can bake up greasy. Substitute the MJ cheese with sharp cheddar and add in some diced jalapenos or a 1/2 teaspoon of dried jalapeno powder for the flavor.