Cowboy Pasta

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.


10 servings

Updated: Aug. 26, 2023
This pasta combines ground beef, bacon, corn, tangy buttermilk and Monterey Jack cheese for an easy but hearty weeknight dinner. Add more chili powder or a chopped jalapeno to give this delicious pasta dish more of an Old West kick. β€”Taste of Home Test Kitchen


  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 5 bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green or sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
  3. In the same pan, cook beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is crumbly and no longer pink; drain. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add corn, tomatoes, buttermilk, cream cheese, chili powder, salt, pepper and cooked pasta; stir to combine.
  4. Stir in Monterey Jack cheese and bacon pieces. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped cooked bacon.
Cowboy Pasta Tips

How can you make cowboy pasta spicier?

To give your cowboy pasta more heat, increase the amount of chili powder. We recommend increasing by just a little to start, and adding more if needed. You can also swap the Monterey Jack cheese for pepper jack cheese or chop a poblano or jalapeno pepper to toss in the pasta mixture for extra heat. Not sure which to use? Here's more on every type of pepper. Just remember to use gloves when cutting hot peppers because the oils can burn skin.

What do you serve with cowboy pasta?

A light and refreshing green salad is a nice complement to hearty cowboy pasta. You can also serve warm, crusty bread or a side of tater tots. Top individual servings of cowboy pasta with a few tots to make it reminiscent of traditional Midwestern tater tot casseroleβ€”in our opinion, it's one of the best Midwestern casseroles!

How do you store leftovers of cowboy pasta?

Let the pasta cool to room temperature, then place in it an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. When you're ready to eat it, here's how to reheat pasta. Love this recipe? Here are more cowboy recipes to try.

β€”Amy Glander, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 333 calories, 16g fat (8g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 456mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 18g protein.