Make Italian Mexican

Baked pasta is always a good choice when you're looking for something quick and easy. But instead of the same old marinara sauce, why not use salsa and turn that classic Italian dish into a Mexican one.

Baked pasta is a favorite of mine. I mean I love pasta the regular way, right out of the boiling water with a nice thick bolognese sauce and a little Parmesan on top. But every so often I like to add some mozzarella and bake it into a casserole. This casserole version of the classic Italian dish is just as filling and just as easy to make, but by baking it, I've turned a basic pasta dish into something amazing. So when I saw that Parents Magazine was taking baked pasta and giving it an ethnic overhaul, I knew I needed to try it.

Guess what? The final result was just as delicious as your regular baked pasta. But since it calls for salsa instead of marinara sauce, the casserole has a nice bite that will make you believe you ordered in from your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Mexican Capellini

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces capellini pasta, broken in half
  • 1 (16 ounce) container fresh mild chunky salsa
  • 2 cups cooked cubed chicken breasts
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped.

Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
    2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta and return to pan. Add salsa, chicken, one cup of cheese, and cilantro; toss to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered for another 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

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