Two of my favorite things in this world: Tex-Mex and pasta. It’s only natural that one day, I would come up with a casserole of my very own that combined the two. And, oh man, I don’t mean to be the obnoxious, brag-y type, but boy-oh-boy, did I hit the nail on the head with this one. This is an Anthony Kitchen original and I am so, so proud of it…and so, so obsessed with it. When this mom puts a meal on the table and receives zero complaints from her two young children and her very picky grown-man husband, I know I’ve got a winner. And, that is exactly what this casserole is – a winner.
It starts with ground turkey. Ok, feeling pretty good about ourselves, right? Choosing healthy turkey over ground beef. Look at us go. Next, comes in the Ranchero sauce. Are you familiar with Ranchero sauce? It’s so glorious. It’s kind of like the Mexican version of marinara. It’s smokey, with just a tidbit of spice, and so, so packed with flavor. Plus, it’s easy to throw together. Bonus.
Next up, some tubular shaped noodles. Now, I put some thought into the noodles for this casserole, because I wanted a pasta that would allow for that mouth-watering Ranchero to seep in, and stay a while. I wanted every single bite to be an explosion of flavor of juicy Turkey Ranchero Casserole flavor. Next, we needed a good ol’ smooth and stretchy cheese in the form of Monterey Jack, my cheese of choice for any Tex-Mex entree.
It all goes in the casserole dish, one big happy family, and bakes up to absolute perfection. Now, this is a big and hearty casserole, and my little family managed to gobble it up in just two nights. That’s saying something. Now, I know there’s pasta in there, but other than that, it really is a pretty healthy meal, packed with protein and vegetables; so mom’s, we can feel pretty great about ourselves when we put this little number on the table. You’ll also feel pretty great about yourself after just one bite, pretty great and pretty proud. Enjoy.
- 1 pound Rigatoni pasta
- 3 tablespoons Canola oil separated
- 1 pound 85/15 ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons TAK’s Tex-Mex Spice Blend or store-bought taco seasoning
- 1 white onion finely diced
- 4 jalapeños stem removed, seeded and finely diced
- 1 large can 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup finely chopped Oaxaca cheese or sub Monterey Jack
Preheat the oven to 375° and have ready a greased 9x13” casserole dish.
Place a large pot of heavily salted water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions. Do not overcook. Transfer to a colander, strain and add to the casserole dish.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large saute pan or Dutch oven and allow to come to temperature. Add turkey and Tex-Mex Spice Blend, and break apart the meat, sautéing about 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the turkey from pan the pan using a slotted spoon and disperse evenly over pasta.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, followed by the diced onions and jalapeños. Saute for 6-8 minutes, or until softened. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Stir to combine and allow to simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
Mix the two cheeses together, and scatter half of it over the casserole. Pour over the sauce and gently stir ingredients together. Scatter the remaining cheese across the top and bake, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and thecasserole is hot all the way through. Serve and enjoy.
Would pair well with: