Creamy bacon pasta bake

Creamy bacon sauce makes this pasta bake a delicious, comforting dinner. This is the perfect recipe to make-ahead and feed a crowd.

Creamy bacon pasta bake

Ingredients

Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

  • Pasta. Any short pasta shape will work.
  • Bacon. 
  • Butter. 
  • Onion. 
  • Garlic. 
  • Herbs. I like using sage, thyme, rosemary or oregano.
  • Flour. 
  • Milk. Any milk can be used.
  • Cream. Heavy/whipping cream. (Optional)
  • Cheese. I used Parmesan and cheddar cheese but any strong cheese will work well. Gruyere, Pecorino, Grana Padano, Havarti, etc. will all be delicious. Mozzarella is delicious for the topping.
  • Salt and pepper.

How to make bacon pasta bake

  1. Make the bechamel sauce: The best and easiest way to make creamy pasta bake is to use a bechamel sauce as a base. Cook the bacon in a deep frying pan (I prefer using one I can bake the pasta in) until crispy then remove from the pan and drain the bacon fat off. Remember to reserve the bacon fat for the most delicious roast potatoes or to use instead of oil or butter in cooking. Add butter and onion to the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Add aromatics like garlic and herbs (I love using sage in this recipe) then add the flour. Whisk into the butter then pour in milk whilst whisking to create a smooth sauce. Reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream (optional) and cheese and season to taste.
  2. Asseble and bake: Add the bacon and cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well. Top with more cheese and place in a hot oven to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown. Remove the pasta bake from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Pasta bake with creamy bacon sauce.

Freezing and making ahead

  1. Freezing: Assemble the pasta bake in a foil baking container. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the pasta bake then wrap well with plastic and a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Remove all wrapping and bake from frozen for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  2. Make ahead: Assemble the pasta dish then cover well and place in the fridge the day before baking.

What to serve with pasta bake

  1. Easy side salad with lemon dressing
  2. Garlic butter dinner rolls
  3. Spicy garlic roasted broccoli

Creamy bacon pasta bake

Pasta bake recipes

  1. Creamy spinach artichoke pasta bake
  2. Pizza pasta bake
  3. Creamy mushroom pasta bake
  4. Easy cheese and tomato pasta bake

Creamy bacon pasta bake

Creamy bacon sauce makes this pasta bake a delicious, comforting dinner. This is the perfect recipe to make-ahead and feed a crowd.
4.45 from 54 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon pasta bake, Pasta bake, Pasta bake recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Calories: 589kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 250 g (½lb) streaky bacon chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp sage finely chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy / whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp parmesan grated
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 500 g (1lb) penne pasta boiled in salted water, drained + 1 cup cooking water reserved

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • In a large, oven-proof pan, fry the bacon until it starts to crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Drain off the bacon fat and reserve for cooking with.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter and add the onion. Allow to cook until soft.
  • Add the garlic and sage and cook for a minute before adding the flour.
  • Stir the flour into the butter then whisk in the milk and cream. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat then stir in the bacon, Parmesan and half of the grated cheese. Season to taste.
  • Add the cooked pasta and some of the pasta cooking water. Stir to coat the pasta in the sauce. At this stage, the sauce should look quite thin. The pasta will absorb more sauce as it cooks so if it looks too dry at this stage, add more pasta cooking water.
  • Top with the remaining cheese and more sage leaves if desired then place in the oven.
  • Allow to bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 572mg | Potassium: 537mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 319mg | Iron: 2mg

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Would it work to prep’ up to Step 7, and bake the next day? Say for an event to save extra work on the day of. Thanks 🙂

  2. I like the idea of making it ahead and the option to freeze for we are only two. Your recipes are so good and easy, I use it all the time.