And sometimes, you just gotta go with what you’ve got. …even if it is condensed soup.
So, this is what happened. …it’s a weeknight, and I am having a glass of wine and cooking simple spaghetti with meat sauce. I’ve got the water boiling, get the ground beef browned up, and I go to the pantry for the sauce and …no sauce. WTH. That’s a pantry staple. I keep that stuff stocked. …I look again. I check the fridge, freezer. …no sauce. Crap.
OK I go back to the pantry and stand there for a minute. ..staring. Then I remember my Mexicali Chicken Parmesan and how good that was, so I decide to do something similar. I go to grab a box of spaghetti and …no spaghetti. Friggin REALLY?!
So by now, I’m pissed (and buzzed) …then I spot the can of condensed cream of chicken soup and the wheels turn… Then half a box of penne. Then Rotel. Boom. Baked Penne.
And here we are.
This easy casserole was the result, and it is delicious. It is cheap, it is fast. It is kid-friendly. It uses ingredients you probably have already and reheats really well. And it is really really tasty. I added a bit of sun-dried tomato pesto – not much – and that really enhanced and complexified (word?) the flavor so the sauce became much more than just soup and Rotel. Just a super tasty easy cure in the middle of a crazy busy week. And much needed comfort.
Saved by the soup.
- 8 oz penne or other pasta of choice
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 can mild Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
- 1 T sun-dried tomato pesto
- 1/4 c Italian flat-leaf parsley, divided
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- chili powder
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heat oven to 350F.
- Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, brown the beef until no longer pink. Add the condensed soup, Rotel, pesto, and 2 T parsley. Stir until smooth and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a palmful of salt to the pasta water. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and add to the meat sauce.
- Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish. Top with the cheese. Dust the top of the casserole with chili powder. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until heated through and bubbly. Serve topped with green onion and more parsley. Yields 6 servings.