Some of you may have noticed-- my family likes pasta. And we like cheese. When I put those two things together, we often end up with Italian-style dishes. Now, don't get me wrong-- they're fantastic. But this weekend I wanted a little something different, so I put together this easy taco-inspired pasta dish. It's going on the list, for sure! We loved it, and I think you will, too!
1 pound curly pasta (shells or cavatappi, for example)
2 small or 1 large red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 24-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked lentils (you could also use black beans or 1/2 lb. ground beef)
1 envelope taco seasoning (or approximately 2 tablespoons of homemade)
12 ounces shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
Makes 6-8 adult portions.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook your pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
Drain pasta. Add onion mixture, tomatoes, lentils or ground beef, taco seasoning, and approximately half of the cheese. Mix until well combined. Pour into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until the top is nicely browned, approximately 15 minutes.