Mexican Pasta Casserole

Serves 6 to 8

1 pound Rigatoni, Ziti or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
8 oz. cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, julienned
1/4 cup ripe olives
1 cup (4 oz.) grated Monterey Jack cheese, Queso Quesadilla or Havarti with Jalapeño Pepper cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375-F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and liquid, cumin and oregano. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

When pasta is done, drain well. In a bowl, combine pasta, chicken, olives, 3/4 cup of cheese, and sauce. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake until warmed through and the cheese melts, about 15 minutes.