Pinned and Rated! Rachel Ray's Chili con Queso Pasta Bake

Well, it's a new month with a new potluck!  Rachel Ray's recipes are very popular, but I have never actually made one of them.  The picture on this pin made my mouth water.

It was super easy and quick to make, and it's a good recipe with ingredients that are often on hand (in my household, at least).  I would rate it about a 7-8.  It is a little spicy, probably because I did not remove the jalepeno seeds.

Note:  If you don't want your hands (and later your eyes when you remove your contacts, despite multiple washings) to burn all night; it's a good idea to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.  Just sayin'.....

For your viewing convenience, here is the recipe:


1pound penne rigate (ridged penne)
pounds ground beef
1tablespoon ground cumin (1 palmful)
1tablespoon roasted ground coriander (1 palmful)
2tablespoons chili powder (2 palmfuls)
Coarse black pepper
1large yellow onion, chopped
3-5garlic cloves, chopped (we really like garlic so I put in more, the recipe calls for 3)
2tablespoons butter
2tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 palmfuls)
2cups milk
¾pound cheddar cheese (about 2½ cups)
¼cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
½cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
114-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes


Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked—a little chewy at the center.
While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger. When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent. Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Take off the heat or turn heat down low.
In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you’re browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon. When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot. Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.


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