Taco Rigatoni

As you know, I’m a big fan of one pan dinners-kinda, well at least when I don’t have any time. Otherwise I’m all about the elaborate table cloth & hours cooking thing. But here is another of those neat 35 minute or so (less prep) meals.

You can prep this in advance if you’d like, or p/u (pick up) predone packaged stuff.


Makes about 8 servings

1 lb  ground beef (80/20, 85/15 75/25)

1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix

2 1/4 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta*

1-3 freshly chopped jalapenos

1 jar (24 oz) salsa

2 1/2 cups water

1 medium tomato diced

1 small onion diced

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

S&P to taste

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add beef & cook until brown, crumbling as it cooks; S&P to taste. Place cooked beef in colander to drain; reserve drippings.
Place onion, jalapeno & half the tomatoes in pan with the reserved drippings. Cook onions till tender. Drain over beef that is in colander.
Return beef & onion mix to pan. Add taco seasoning mix, stirring to coat beef. Add water, stirring to combine. Heat to boiling for about three minutes. Reduce heat to simmering. Add pasta, salsa; stir. Cover.
Cook about 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until pasta is tender. Remove from heat.
Stir in remaining tomato, cilantro/parsley & cheese, let stand for two minutes or till cheese melts. Serve. You can also do this per serving if you’d like (see pix).


*You can use any kind of pasta that you like. Shells, elbow, farfalle (bow tie), what ever. This also goes very well with rice, though you will want to increase the water by about half a cup, or cook the rice separate from everything. Don’t just

set a timer & leave the “dish” to cook, if you can help it. You’ll want to check how done the pasta is. Rigatoni & elbow are more hearty, so they can hold up pretty well & be firm.
You can cook the pasta separate from this (kind defeats the one pan method), as it will be a little starchy at al dente’. You could also increase the time to 45 minutes, but I’d add about half a cup of water, more at the 35 minute mark.

If you like ground turkey or tofurkey, go ahead & use that. Be sure to use a little oil to help that lean stuff fry.
Be different, use half as much ‘beef’, & add some minced shrimp for a nice fish taco taste that will hold up to cooking the pasta for thirty odd minutes.
I like my salsa hot, & I cook my jalapenos, with my tomato & my onion with a little oil. It’s the right way to do it & the results will speak for itself, so I included it in the directions (It’s all about taste). You have the option of leaving out the “canned” salsa & increasing the japs, onions & tomats, but you’ll want to add garlic, cilantro & so on. I’ll get one of my salsa recipes up as we get into spring & summer. Buon appetito!


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