It’s got a chili mac vibe, a little bit of heat, and fresh cilantro. What’s not a to love? Let’s class it up and call it Diablo Pasta.
Ingredients for seasoning:
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
3 tsp paprika
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
2# chicken breast, cut into chunks or ground beef – chicken gives it a bit of an enchilada quality and keeps things a bit healthier, ground beef is good for the taco or chili lover. They’re both good, though.
2 bell peppers, diced small – I like to keep things colorful with one red and one yellow.
2 jalapenos, diced – I only seed and de-rib one, because I love a little heat. You can do whatever you like though.
1 onion, diced small
6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
4 cups rotini or fusilli – I used macaroni once, and it doesn’t work as well as the larger pastas, so keep that in mind. Cavatappi works well too, and it’s fun!
4 cups chicken stock – If you don’t make your own (and I don’t always), use one of the varieties that comes in a carton. The flavor is vastly superior to canned.
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with some oil.
- For chicken: season chicken chunks with 2 Tbsp seasoning mix and cook in skillet until brown and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.
- For ground beef: brown and drain the beef, then add back to the skillet with 2 Tbsp of seasoning mix. Make sure it’s thoroughly coated and remove to a plate.
- Add vegetables (onions, garlic, peppers) to pan with 2 more Tbsp seasoning mix and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and scrape up anything that has cooked to the bottom of the pot. Let this boil and cook down a bit before adding dry pasta to pot along with 2 more Tbsp seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover and turn to low. Allow to cook 10 minutes, until pasta is al dente.
- Add tomato sauce and stir until mixed well. Turn heat off and stir in shredded cheese. Add meat and stir together.
- Serve in bowls and top with a dusting of cilantro.
To be honest, I didn’t mix the cheese in the last time I made this because I’m not a big fan of cheese. Instead, I sprinkled it on top of everyone else’s at the end and ate mine without. With and without cheese were both a success!
Serves 4-6, depending on appetites.