Nacho Pasta Bake

Compared to the asparagus ricotta tart, this dish is the other end of the spectrum when it comes to elegance. I'd even go so far as to call it homely. It's a jumble of chicken, corn, green bell peppers, cheese, salsa and pasta all mixed up in a casserole dish. It could even be called a casserole, but we'd never do that at my house or my husband wouldn't eat it. Sometimes a rose by another name doesn't smell as sweet.

The good thing is that the ease of preparation and the final taste of this dish well make up for lack of style points. It's an easy weeknight meal that tastes like nachos and can be easily adapted to your personal tastes. You can switch out the chicken with beef or change the type of cheese or throw in some extra veggies for good measure. Just make sure you use a favorite salsa since that will affect the final flavor most of all. With the weeks winding down until this baby comes, my feet swelling, and my energy dropping, any recipe that requires less prep time in the kitchen is now my new friend. If it goes on top of tortilla chips, consider us best friends forever. No matter how homely it is.


Nacho Pasta Bake


  • 8 ounces orecchiette or other small shaped pasta
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 can (11 oz) corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) green chiles, drained
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa, divided (make this a salsa you really like, since the flavor of the final dish will be made or broken by how much you like the salsa you use.)
  • chopped green onions
  • tortilla chips


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, onion mixture, chicken, corn, chilies, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey jack and chili powder.
  4. Spoon some salsa onto the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish and spread to cover the bottom of the dish. Spoon chicken mixture on top of salsa. Top with remaining salsa and spread evenly with remaining cheese. Bake until mixture is heated through, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Spread chopped green onions over the top of the dish and serve over tortilla chips.
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20-25 min Serves: 6

Recipe Source: adapted from Creative Cook's Kitchen

9 Click For Comments:

cheese! It makes everything taste good. :) 

PS good to know that in a few weeks I can look forward to *another* downswing in energy.  Hmph. I like the second trimester energy high. Must keep prepping for baby as much as I can while I still have the energy to do so! 

Hey, now ... some of the yummiest dishes are the homeliest ones!!  Love this pasta bake idea, Nicole.

Oh man, this looks dangerous! I've been looking for new pasta options now that Nate is carbo-loading for his marathon training. I think I may make this this week :)

I have several recipes for casseroles with similar ingredients except I've never thought to add pasta before. Definitely going to have to try this one!

Im definitely trying this! Looks absolutely great!

Wow!! I HAVE to make this! Looks incredible, I'm sure I'll love this!

Oh my word, that looks like the most divine comfort food.  There is nothing wrong with homely, nothing at all :)

Love this.  Comfort in a casserole!

We served this in taco bowls. It was good served that way.

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