Use Indiana Grown ingredients to create a hearty meal! This cavatappi is delicious and comfort food at its finest. This recipe was well received during our Indiana Grown State Fair Culinary Competition.
1/2 red and 1/2 green sweet pepper cut into thin strips (divided)
2 Tbsp Health Hoosier Canola Oil
1 Tbsp water
1 lb Indiana Kitchen bacon
2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
2 Tbsp +2 tsp seasoned salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper
1 can Red Gold petite diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime
1 can Red Gold petite diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup Traders Point Creamery whole milk
1 lb box cavatappi macaroni
1 can fiesta cheese soup
1 1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bacon in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Bake until crisp, about 18 minutes. Immediately remove from pan to a rack lined with paper towels to drain.
Place peppers, oil, and water in a medium skillet. Cook over medium/low heat until barely tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place ground beef in large skillet with onions and 2 Tbsp seasoned salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 Tbsp red pepper. Brown and drain. Add in diced tomatoes. Stir and simmer uncovered on low heat. Stir in 1/2 of the drained peppers and add in 2 Tbsp sugar. Crumble 1/4 of the bacon and add to the ground beef. Add additional seasoning to taste.
Place cavatappi in 3 quart sauce pan and add enough water to cover. Add 2 tsp seasoned salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Cook until barely tender, drain, then return to pot. Add in the can of soup, milk, and shredded cheese. Crumble 1/4 of the bacon and add to cavatappi and cheese. Add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.
Pour cavatappi and cheese into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Scoop a cup of meat mixture onto center of cavatappi and stir down through center only to within 1 1/2 inches from edge. Place more meat in center on top of cavatappi leaving the 1 1/2 inch edge all around. Decorate with remaining peppers, shredded cheese, and bacon. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.