Prepare the pasta shells according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Add the ground beef, diced onion and garlic to a 5 - 6 quart heavy bottom stockpot over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef for 5 - 7 minutes, until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any remaining grease.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the taco seasoning and the water to the cooked beef mixture. Stir well and allow the mixture to cook for 8 - 10 minutes.
Stir in the salsa and cook on low for another 3 - 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
Stir in the cooked pasta shells. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve while hot.
To Store: Store any leftover Taco Pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To Reheat: Reheat your Taco Pasta on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
You can substitute small pasta shells for the medium size. (The medium size shell is no. 50)
For the freshest flavor, you can shred your own block of cheese instead of buying the pre-shredded cheese.
Lean ground beef is best for this recipe because it has less grease.