Mexican Pasta Casserole

  • Photo and Recipe courtesy of <a href='http://eatwisconsincheese.com' target='_blank'>Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.</a>
  • Yield: 8 servings

    Ingredients

  • 12 ounces rigatoni, ziti or other medium pasta shape
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalape jalape&ntilde;o chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and julienned
  • 1/4 c. ripe olives, chopped
  • 1 c. (4 oz.) Queso Quesadilla, Monterey Jack or Jalape&ntilde;o Havarti Cheese, shredded and divided

    Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375&deg;F.
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalape&ntilde;o and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and liquid, cumin, and oregano. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • When pasta is done, drain well. In bowl, combine pasta, chicken, olives, 3/4 cup cheese and sauce. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake until warmed through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.