December 11, 2010

TACO PASTA CASSEROLE

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 or 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery
2 onions
1 green bell pepper
1/2 lb shell, ziti or elbow macaroni
3 pints water
1 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning
1 can condensed mushroom soup
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese



Season ground beef lightly with salt and pepper. Wash and chop pepper and onion and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent; add crumbled ground beef and sauté until browned. Add garlic, celery and taco seasoning; sauté for 2 more minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water (but for a few minutes less time until almost tender).
Butter a casserole dish and place a layer of pasta, a layer of meat, cheese, and soup, ending with a layer of cheese.
Bake in a 350°F oven until cheese and soup melt through and mixture is bubbly. Stir once or twice, then serve hot.

Makes 3 or 4 servings.
Variation: Omit taco seasoning and use Italian seasoning instead (oregano, basil, etc) and use 1 can tomato instead of mushroom.

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