Busy weeknights practically demand one-skillet meals. Back in the day, the only one-skillet taco pasta I knew—or one skillet meal period—came out of a box with a smiling oven mitt.
The concept was simple: brown some ground beef, dump in packet #1 of unknown flavoring and/or thickening substance, dump in noodles, add milk and water, cover, and let it cook. Then dump in packet #2 with more unknown substance, mix, and glop it all into a bowl.
Little did I know: it IS possible to make a similarly easy—but actually delicious—meal…out of REAL FOOD. YOU are in complete control of the flavor profile: no more mystery packets of unknown, weirdly colored powders. As long as you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry, this meal is every bit as convenient as the one that comes out of a box.
I like to think of this as ‘Burger Helper: but GOOD. And trust me: this is healthier.
I like to use a combination of ground turkey and Mexican chorizo (the kind that’s uncooked). Lots of pastas can work in this dish, but my two favorites are cavatappi and rotini. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so there’s no need to boil water in a separate pot. And of course, since the cooking liquid soaks up into the pasta (with a little extra left to make the dish saucy), there’s no need to drain.
After the pasta is cooked, all that’s left to do is serve. I like to set out toppings and condiments buffet style, à la DIY taco bar. The usual suspects are fresh sliced scallions and jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce—and maybe even pico de gallo if I happen to have any in the fridge, which I frequently do (sometimes I make up a small batch anyway). I highly recommend this easy Cutting Board Guacamole as another excellent candidate for one-skillet taco pasta condiment.
I have a ginormous skillet, so I generally double the recipe below. It feeds my family of five with plenty of leftovers for another meal.
Last week, I had a big deadline for grants applications. Since I was otherwise occupied and dinner delivery fell to Phil, my wonderful hubster got creative with the One-Skillet Taco Pasta leftovers and made quesadillas, which absolutely blew my mind: yeah, pasta AND flour tortillas, WHAAAT?!—but hey: it was pretty awesome. I hope that you’ll find One-Skillet Taco Pasta to be a huge life-saver—but more importantly, I hope that your family will love it as much as we do.
If you’re a fan of one-pot dinners, check out Mastering Easy One-Pot Meal Recipes, a how-to full of great tips for delivering a variety of these easy meals.
I am super excited to be linking this recipe up to #CookBlogShare, where food bloggers share their recipes. Check it out here!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- 1/4 lb. Mexican chorizo, casing removed
- 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp. ancho chile powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/2 lb. pasta (e.g., elbow macaroni, cavatappi, or rotini)
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce, plus extra (if needed)
- Sliced scallions
- Chopped fresh tomatoes
- Sour cream
- hot sauce
- chopped cilantro
- cheddar cheese, grated
- cotija cheese, grated
- pico de gallo
In a large skillet, sautée the ground turkey and chorizo in 1/2 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat until browned. Drain and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet and return to burner over medium heat. Add the remaining tbsp. olive oil. Sautée the Vidalia onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and serrano chile until soft and translucent.
Return the meat to the pan. Add the chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper; mix into the meat mixture. Add the pasta, chicken broth, and tomato sauce; stir to combine.
Lid skillet and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed into the pasta and the pasta is tender (cook to your desired consistency); 10-12 minutes.
Check the sauce: if you'd like a more saucy consistency to your dish, add an additional 1/2 cup or so of tomato sauce. Mix well, adding additional salt and pepper as needed.
Serve buffet-style with a selection of taco toppings and condiments.
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