Southwestern Chicken Cavatappi
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Southwestern Chicken Cavatappi

Servings 8
Author Melissa Sperka

Ingredients

  • 12 oz dry cavatappi pasta
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese divided
  • 3 Tbsp taco or fiesta seasoning i.e. McCormick
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 3 cup roughly chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn with peppers thawed
  • 1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa plus additional for serving
  • 4 green onion sliced (Reserve 2 Tbsp for garnish)
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta in salted water per the package directions until al dente then drain well.
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour. Cook over medium-high stirring until the flour has dissolved.
  • Whisk in the garlic salt, pepper and 3 cups milk. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat ti medium-low whisking constantly. Allow to gently bubble for 5 minutes then add 2 cups cheese.
  • Remove from the heat and stir until the cheese melts. Add the taco seasoning, ground cumin and oregano mixing well.
  • Add the cooked pasta, chopped chicken, black beans, corn,and green onion to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce on top and mix well.
  • Pour 1/2 into the baking dish. Dollop the salsa over the pasta, then sprinkle lightly with 3/4 cup pepper Jack cheese. Top with the remaining pasta and finish the top with the last 3/4 cup shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly around the edge and the cheese is golden.
  • Garnish with reserved green onion.
  • Serve immediately with additional salsa on top, if desired. .

Notes

Cavatappi or corkscrew pasta is a twisted elbow pasta with ridges. Large elbow macaroni could be used, if desired.
It's important to use a thick and chunky salsa either mild, medium or hot your preference.