Ready for some taste bud-tingling trivia? The origins of this dish span from Italy to Mexico to the States. Did you guess Tex-Mex Casserole? You’re right! This delectable dish blends together some of Italy’s finest fluffy pasta, Mexico’s most flavorful medium-hot salsa, and America’s most beloved Monterey Jack cheese! Some spicy pork sausage is tossed in to create a heartiness that could fill many nations. Ding, ding, ding — making this gooey, cheesy, spicy Tex-Mex Mac will make you feel like a winner and that’s not trivial!

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Ingredients

For the mac:

  • 3 cups mostaccioli or rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage, links with casing removed or ground
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar green medium-hot salsa
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Optional, for topping:

  • tomatoes, to taste, wedged
  • jalapeño peppers, to taste, sliced
  • fresh cilantro, to taste, chopped
  • salsa, to taste

Directions

Step 1 –Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2 –Lightly grease a 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

Step 3 –Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package instructions.

Step 4 –Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Step 5 –While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage and the onions, while crumbling the meat, until the sausage is brown and the onions are tender, about 7-10 minutes.

Step 6 –Drain the excess grease from the skillet.

Step 7 –Stir the 16-ounce jar of the green salsa into the meat mixture.

Step 8 –In the prepared baking dish, layer 1/2 of the cooked pasta, 1/2 of the meat mixture, and 1/2 of the cheese.

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Step 9 –Repeat the layers.

Step 10 –Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

Step 11 –Let the mac stand for 10 minutes.

Step 12 –Top with the tomato wedges, the sliced jalapeño peppers, and the chopped cilantro.

Step 13 –Serve with the extra salsa.