Cheesy taco pasta


Cheesy taco pasta!

Pasta: 1 box (about 12-16 ounces, depending on the brand). Bow tie pasta is fun and holds sauce well, but you can use penne, fusilli, or even elbow macaroni for a similar effect.
Hamburger Meat: 1 pound. Opt for lean ground beef for less grease.
Taco Seasoning: 1 packet (about 1-2 tablespoons if using from a bulk container). You can adjust the amount based on your flavor preference.
Velveeta Cheese: Half a block (about 8 ounces). This creamy processed cheese melts beautifully, creating a smooth, velvety sauce.
Salsa: ½ jar (about 8 ounces, depending on jar size). Choose your favorite salsa in terms of flavor and heat level.
Optional Toppings: Shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, or Monterey Jack are great choices), additional salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, or sliced jalapeños for garnish.


Prep Work:
Start by setting up your ingredients. This includes measuring out the taco seasoning, cutting the Velveeta cheese into smaller chunks for easier melting, and opening the jar of salsa. Having everything ready will streamline the cooking process.
Cooking the Pasta:
Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package’s directions for al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly under warm water to stop the cooking process and remove excess starch. Set aside but keep warm.
Browning the Hamburger:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook until it’s fully browned and no longer pink, which should take about 5-7 minutes. If there’s excess grease, carefully drain it off and return the skillet to the heat.
Seasoning the Meat:
Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle the taco seasoning over the cooked meat. Add a small amount of water (refer to the taco seasoning packet for the exact amount, usually around ¼ cup) and stir well to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, then remove from heat.
Melting the Velveeta and Salsa Together:
While the meat is cooking, take a medium saucepan and add the chunks of Velveeta cheese and salsa. Set it over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent the cheese from sticking and burning. Once the cheese has fully melted and combined with the salsa into a smooth sauce, remove it from the heat.
Combining Everything:
In a large mixing bowl or the pot you used for the pasta, combine the cooked pasta, the seasoned hamburger, and the cheesy salsa sauce. Stir gently but thoroughly to ensure each piece of pasta is coated with the sauce and the meat is evenly distributed throughout.
Transfer the cheesy taco pasta to serving dishes while hot. If desired, top each serving with additional shredded cheese, a spoonful of salsa, and any other toppings you like. The extra toppings add texture, freshness, and an extra layer of flavor.
Serve immediately. This dish is best enjoyed hot, right after it’s prepared, when the cheese is gooey and the flavors are most vibrant

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