If you love pasta and tacos, this dish is a wonderful hybrid.  It is full of bold Mexican flavors and a great make-ahead meal.  The black beans, corn and seasonings are great with the meat. You can easily adjust the level of spice to your liking by including or omitting the chipotle powder and the amount of jalapeño in the recipe.  Select your favorite taco seasoning to add to the meat for bold Mexican flavor.  You can also adjust the amount of cheese in the dish.  I tend to love cheese, but if you are not so much a fan, you can easily adjust to suit your personal preference.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 lb favorite short pasta
  • 1 1/4 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 or 2 finely chopped jalapeño, plus 1 more for serving
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (I love Muir Glen)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 teaspoons taco seasoning (I love Penzey’s)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle Chile (optional, for heat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, plus extra leaves reserved for garnish
  • 4 thinly sliced scallions, optional garnish
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste


In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat add onion, peppers and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until fragrant and onions are translucent.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Turn heat to high and add ground beef. Break up beef with the back of a wooden spoon and continue to sauté until meat is cooked through and browned.  Add crushed tomatoes and seasonings and bring mixture to a boil.  Rinse can out with about a half cup of water and add to mixture, cover and simmer covered.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add black beans and corn.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and fresh tomatoes.  Boil pasta according to package directions to al dente and drain.  Place pasta back in cooking pot, along with cheese and meat mixture reserving about 1 cup of cheese.  Mix to incorporate and transfer pasta and meat to an oven-proof  baking dish (9×13″ rectangle or 12″ round).  Place additional cheese on top of baking dish and place baking dish in preheated oven of 300.  Loosely wrap dish in foil and heat covered for about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with reserved cilantro leaves, sliced scallions and sliced jalapeño.  Serve and enjoy!