Mexican or pasta? Why not a Mexican pasta dish instead? I personally always have ingredients for Mexican food on hand, but my Italian supplies are more limited. That’s why, every once in awhile, I have to combine the two just to get rid of certain things in my cabinets. Beth, you say. Why don’t you just go grocery shopping? Are you really that time-strapped? Well, yes and no. I will go grocery shopping at some point this week, probably even today. But we close on our new house tomorrow (you can read my tips for moving here), and what’s the point of picking up a whole bunch of ingredients when you’re going to have to move them in a week?
Typically my husband and I eat our pasta pretty plain. We like olive oil for a sauce, and I’ll throw in a nice vegetable and meat to keep it interesting, but that’s about it. This is our favorite. Pretty delicious, I must say. But, I’m trying to clean out my kitchen, so here’s what I’ve got: sausage, pasta, cheddar and Pepperjack cheeses, some spices, and….that’s about it. I don’t have any tortillas, and those won’t be purchased again until the move. I don’t have any mozzarella or Parmesan, and again, those will have to wait. So you can see why sometimes I feel like mixing and matching my regional cuisines. Anyway, let’s get started.
Mexican Pasta Dish with Sausage
20-25 minutes cooking time
1 lb penne pasta
1 lb smoked sausage or chorizo
Red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar
1/2 cup Pepperjack
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta until al dente (10-12 minutes)
- Meanwhile, cut sausage into 1/4 in thick slices. Saute on medium high until cooked through.
- Add cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper to sausage. Stir.
- Add red pepper to saute pan and heat until softened.
- Drain the pasta. Now mix in a 1/2 cup of cheddar and the Pepperjack and stir. Cheese should be melted throughout.
- Add sausage and red pepper to pasta and cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Allow to cool slightly.
- Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
So, this is really more of a Mexican-inspired dish than a plain ole’ Mexican pasta dish. If you want something like nachos on macaroni, I would suggest something like this or this. I like the idea, but I’d be more likely to simply make nachos one day and macaroni the next if I had all the ingredients. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to mix and match recipes rather than buy a whole store full of food, so that’s really my goal here. Now, if you want this particular recipe more Mexican-y, you could switch the sausage for ground beef. Also, definitely adjust the cheese to your own liking. I love cheese, but I know not everyone does.
This dish could also easily be switched to Creole. The flavors are actually really similar to this shrimp and grits recipe, which I also love. I may have an addiction to Allrecipes. I think the gist of what I’m saying is, feel free to throw whatever you have left in your cabinet and fridge, mix it together, and call it a dish. When your life is hectic, who cares if you’re entirely cohesive in your menu planning. Now eat up!