Thursday, February 9, 2012

Southwestern Pasta & Cheese

Southwestern Pasta & Cheese

Prep:  30 minutes
Bake:  20 minutes
Serves:  8

3 1/3  Cups  Bow Tie Pasta
1  Red Bell Pepper, diced
8  Green Onions, chopped
1  clove  Garlic, minced
1  Tablespoon  Olive Oil
1  lb.  Turkey Italian Sausage, sweet -OR- hot

1/4  Cup  Flour
1  teaspoon  Chili Powder
1  teaspoon  minced Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce (I buy a can, puree it in the blender, and store it in the freezer)
1/2  teaspoon  Salt
1/2  teaspoon  Cumin
2 1/4  Cups  Milk
1  Cup  shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/4  Cup  Real Bacon Bits -OR- 4 Bacon strips, cooked crisp and crumbled
2  Tablespoons  minced  Fresh Cilantro

Cook Pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, saute Bell Pepper, Green Onions, Garlic, and Italian Sausage in Olive Oil until meat is cooked through; drain off any fat.  Stir in the Flour, Chili Powder, Chipotle Chili, Salt, and Cumin until blended.  Gradually stir in Milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in 1/4 Cup Cheese until melted.

Drain Pasta; toss with meat sauce.  Stir in Bacon Bits and Cilantro.  Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with remaining Cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 400* for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.

400* sounds mighty hot, but it toasts the top layer of the Bow Ties--this chewy pasta is what the children all fight for!  A fun twist to Macaroni & Cheese.  Add more Chipotle Chili if you like things on the spicier side.

Adapted from Healthy Cooking

1 comment:

deborah said...

I love your pictures of your food!