This dish was created out of desperation one night. I was on my Mormon mission and for some reason the members of the local congregation weren’t feeding the lady or sister missionaries. I later learned they felt women knew how to cook, so they didn’t need to feed us. I fixed that quickly, as it was a time issue and moreover an opportunity for us to get to know those local members we were serving among. But this one night, we had very few things in the apartment and fast food wasn’t an option in the tiny town we were living in. I knew I could make something for us to eat and succeed. I found dry spaghetti, canned corn, black beans, salsa, chicken, and cheese. Viola! Dinner was created. Over the years I have played with the recipe and tweaked it. But it is still as delicious as it was that very first time, all those many years ago in Magnolia, Texas. (Look it up, it’s a teeny tiny town.)
The pan is now empty, many second-helpings were served, so my family loved it as much as I do.
- 6 oz dried spaghtetti
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 rotisserie chicken; shredded (about a pound)
- 1/2 onion; diced
- 1 bell pepper; diced
- 1 zucchini , quartered & diced
- 1 cup corn
- 1-24 oz jar salsa
- 1 can black beans; drained and rinsed
- 6 oz cheddar cheese; grated plus a bit more
- 2 cloves garlic; grated/minced
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup pasta water; +/- to desired thinness
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil.
Add the onions and the bell peppers.
Cook for two minutes then add the chili powder, salt, and pepper, mix well.
Add the garlic, zucchini, and corn.
Cook an additional minute then add the salsa. Mix well.
Bring to a low simmer and add the chicken and black beans, stirring gently.
Return to a low simmer.
Slowly stir in the cheese, only a bit at time a time to prevent clumping.
Add a portion of the cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish.
Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauté pan and incorporate it completely into the sauce.
Add the pasta water, to thin the sauce a bit.
Add as much as needed to obtain desired sauce consistency.
Garnish with the remaining cilantro and more cheese if desired.