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Menu Mashups - Tacoroni

This is the second entry in my Menu Mashups series. Family Feedbag is taking family faves and combining them to create all new yumminess. This is what happens when awesome and fabulous collide!

The arrival of spring and warmer weather has me craving lively and zingy Mexi flavours. Mmmmm tacos! But the comfort foods of winter, like ooey gooey mac and cheese, are still fresh in my mind. So, I thought, why not combine them?! Meet tacoroni!

This dish has the best of both Italian and Mexican flavours. Zesty taco meat and chopped tomatoes combined with pasta in a creamy cheese sauce, covered in a crunchy tortilla and parmesan topping! It's so fab, it's like a Versace sombrero.

Here's how I made it:

1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
4 cups dry pasta
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups extra old cheddar, shredded
2 large handfuls of tortilla chips
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

I started by browning the ground beef in a pan. I added the taco seasoning and water, and simmered the beef mixture over medium heat until most of the water evaporated (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, I boiled the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. When done and drained, I combined the pasta, beef mixture, and tomatoes in a large casserole dish and set it aside. At this point I preheated the oven to 350 degrees (F).

Next, the cheese sauce. I combined the olive oil and flour in a medium sauce pan, stirring over medium heat until it began to bubble. The milk went in next, and I stirred it with a whisk over medium/high heat until it came to a boil. Another 30-60 seconds later and it had thickened nicely, so I removed it from the heat and stirred in the cheddar. Then I poured the cheese sauce over the pasta.

Finally, the crunchy topping! The tortilla chips were ground in a small food processor (you could just crush 'em too), then I combined them with the parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkled the topping over the tacoroni. The whole thing baked in the oven until the topping was golden and gorgeous, about 30-35 minutes.

That's what happens when tasty tacos and cheesy macaroni collide! And two rights never make a wrong.

Are tacos and mac and cheese regularly on your table too? Does the arrival of spring have you craving some fresh recipes? What's on the menu at your house this week?