This simple One Pot Taco Pasta is the perfect family-friendly dinner. Its super quick, easy, cheesy and comforting all at once. Seasoned with taco spices, the ground beef gets tossed with green chilies, crushed tomatoes and beef broth to form a sauce that cooks the pasta shells all in the same pot then tossed together with plenty of shredded cheddar cheese and finished with fresh herbs.
Think everything you love about the Americanized version of beef tacos turned into a comforting pasta dish. Ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, a little heat, and some fresh herbs but instead of taco shells its pasta shells!
The inspiration behind this was trying to come up with something fun and tasty that my little man Levi would enjoy. He’s 18 months old and really likes seasoned ground beef. He straight up picks it out of the dishes with his cute little fingers and stuffs it in his mouth. I make him little air-fried whole wheat tortilla pizzas that have pizza sauce, taco beef, and shredded cheese and all he does it pick off the beef. But I know sometimes he will crush a plate of pasta I think it just depends on his food mood- just like his mama he’s all about the meal variety.
Seeing as this is a one-pot recipe, it’s pretty straightforward but like all things you want to start off with a large skillet that can hold a good amount of liquid and room for pasta to grow. After that the beef gets browned with some onions just as you would do if making ground beef tacos. I like to mix my own taco seasoning blend from the never ending spices in my spice drawer but if you don’t house a lot of spices you can use a store bought taco seasoning pouch. Honestly this is a minor detail with the same end result its just a matter of convenience and what you have on hand. No one is judging as long as it taste good.. right?! Next is I spice up the beef mix with some canned green chilies, crushed Italian tomatoes, beef broth and mix in a cornstarch slurry that will thicken the liquid to become saucy. If you watch my Instagram stories you may have seen me add what looks like cloudy water into liquids.. well that’s what I am adding. This method is used by many, especially cooks and in restaurants to thicken liquids for a better consistency and all it is is 1/2 tsp of cornstarch with 2 TBS cold water mixed together.
Once the liquid is hot and reaches a bubble, toss in the un cooked pasta shells, cover and let the pasta cook on reduced heat. Stir it here and there to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 7 minutes you want to check and test the pasta to see if its fully cooked. Once its done stir in the cheese until it melts into the dish and coats the shells. It shouldn’t be super sticky and gooey like a mac and cheese but you should still be able to see that nice tomato broth sauce peaking through. I like to add a bit of butter at the end to make it a little buttery and prevent the pasta from being too sticky but loosen it up and make it smoother. After that its ready to be served and devoured. Garnish it on the plates with fresh cilantro and scallions.
This dish is almost reminiscent of hamburger helper. I don’t know if any of you grew up on that but it was super popular when my parents were making us dinner growing up. This was not my intention of course but it just happened to turn out tasting like it! A happy accident I guess because it was a tasty dish back in the day.
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