Bacon Pesto Pasta Bake

$8.54 recipe / $1.07 serving

I know today is Thanksgiving but I cooked all of my Thanksgiving food last week and after eating turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce all week I needed something new. After perusing my “to cook” list, I decided to make something quick, easy and super scrumptious: pasta with bacon, pesto, cheese and tomatoes. YUM. I just ate a bowl of this while tweaking the photos and I have to say that this is probably more of a side dish than a one-dish meal like I expected. Never the less, it’s easy and delicious. Add a couple other sides and you’ve got a complete meal!

Bacon Pesto Pasta Bake

Bacon Pesto Pasta Bake

Bacon Pesto Pasta Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $8.54
Cost Per Serving: $1.07
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 14.5 oz. box penne pasta $2.08
  • 1 (10 oz.) jar basil pesto $1.98
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella $1.88
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.50
  • 6 oz. applewood smoked bacon $1.10
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the box (boil for about 10 minutes).
  2. While the pasta cooks, chop the bacon into small bits and cook in a skillet over medium/high heat until crispy. Spoon cooked bacon onto paper towel to absorb the extra fat. While the pasta and bacon cook, rinse the tomatoes and cut each in half.
  3. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a colander. Once it is well drained, return it to the pot (removed from heat). Mix in the pesto, bacon, tomatoes and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and spread out. Top with the remaining one cup of cheese.
  4. Put the casserole in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden brown on top (approximately 20 minutes). EAT!

 

crispy bacongrape tomatoesSTEP 3: When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a colander. Once it is well drained, return it to the pot (removed from heat). Mix in the pesto, bacon, tomatoes and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and spread out. Top with the remaining one cup of cheese.

STEP 4: Put the casserole in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden brown on top (approximately 20 minutes). EAT!

Bacon Pesto Pasta BakeNOTE: This recipe calls for 6 oz. of bacon (uncooked) which is half of a normal sized package of bacon. If you don’t use the rest you can freeze it! The best part is that if you don’t use the second half all at once, you can just cut off what you need, cook it and keep the rest frozen. Of course, this is only applicable for recipes where the bacon is used in “bit” sized pieces, not strips. Because the bacon is so fatty, it is fairly soft when frozen making it really easy to cut into. Your other option is to cook up all of the bacon into crispy little bits and then freeze half of the cooked pieces. Then, of course, if you really really like bacon, you can just use the whole package in the recipe and make the dish cost $9.64 and $1.20 per serving.

If you are feeling really adventurous, try making a cheese sauce (like in the sun dried tomato and spinach mac n’ cheese) and stir the pesto into that before mixing with the pasta. This method will yield a super creamy pesto pasta dish!

18 Comments

  1. So, I had made a batch of creamed spinach earlier this week (I need to refine the recipe before posting it) and I’ve been stirring a glop of that into this pasta before reheating… the results are PHENOMENAL. I will, in the future, be posting a revised version of this recipe with spinach and a cream sauce mixed in.

  2. Actual cost from Safeway Ranier Beach, Seattle, WA.

    Grape Tomatoes 3.49
    Bacon 1.50 (half package)
    Pesto 2.55
    Penne Pasta 1.79
    Shredded Cheese 2.49
    Total Cost 11.82 (+3.28 over original post)

  3. What kind of sides would you recommend? This seems like a very carb heavy dish (and my mind always goes to carbs and starch as side dishes)

    Maybe roast veggies or fresh fruit?

  4. well, I was going to do a simple roasted squash this week that would have been a perfect side but didn’t get to it… here is a link to one: Maple Roasted Acorn Squash. I like the idea of having an orange vegetable to balance this out. Also, If you don’t put creamed spinach in it (as I ended up doing), I would also pair it with a simple green salad.

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  8. Just made this for dinner, delicious! I used whole-wheat Penne and safeway select pesto so it was a little more expensive, but worth it!

  9. I made this with some grilled chicken to make it more of a main course. I also added a can of cream of chicken soup which made it a bit creamier. It was a great meal, and I had plenty of left-overs!

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  11. Jessica says:

    I know this is late, but I just tried this today. Swapped the grape tomatoes for some pseudo-sun dried roma tomatoes and upped the bacon a bit. Next time I hope to add some artichoke hearts; this recipe would be a great catch all for pantry leftovers!

  12. It really looks yummy! I’ll have to try the recipe as soon as possible. I’m actually a great fan of pasta :)

  13. It WAS delicious, I got to share some of it!!
    This looks so good! I’m going to try it.
    I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.
    interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it.

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  14. Thank you for posting this, I am going to make this for dinner tonight, but Im going to add chicken to the mix. But I do have one call out. In the ingredient list you have pesto jar size as 1.10oz, I believe you wanted to put it as 8.1 oz (because I think you are using the Classico Basil Pesto. Just don’t want people to think they need to just make 1.1oz of it if they are making their own pesto from scratch. I can’t wait to try this tonight.

  15. Quindara – Thanks for catching that! I think I meant to type 1 (10 ounce) jar. I’ll fix it now :)

  16. Made this last night with two kinds of left over pasta – bowtie and spaghetti. The rest of the ingredients are so good together, I don’t think it matters what type you use. Delicious!!

  17. Made this last night with two kinds of left over pasta – bowtie and spaghetti. The rest of the ingredients are so good together, I don’t think it matters what type you use. Delicious!!

  18. Julie says:

    Oh wow!! We just ate this for dinner and it was DELISH!!!! I have been making a lot of your recipes lately and my husband is in heaven! Thanks for making me look good!! You rock!!

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