Creamy Baked Pasta
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6 to 6 servings
Recipe by Bonny Reichert
- 1 568-mL pkg grape tomatoes , halved
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 500-g box penne , or other sturdy pasta shape
- 1/3 cup chopped thick-cut bacon , or pancetta
- 1/3 cup chopped green olives , (optional)
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk
- 1 cup shredded Asiago , or cheddar (or mix), divided
- 1 tbsp dried bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread halved tomatoes on a baking tray; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, then roast for 20 minutes.
- In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until just tender-firm. Drain (but don’t rinse) and set aside.
- In a small skillet over low heat, cook bacon until it becomes crisp and has released its fat. Drain bacon well and remove all but 2 tsp (10 mL) fat from the pan. If using chopped olives, place them in the pan and cook gently. Drain well.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir until it forms a paste. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, stirring, on low heat until the sauce mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) shredded cheese to the sauce. Stir until just combined.
- Now put it all together: Spread cooked pasta in a 9 x 13 in (3 L) ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup (50 mL) shredded cheese, bacon and olives (if using), then add roasted tomatoes with the oil and juices. Gently mix to evenly distribute ingredients. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and sprinkle the top with remaining ¼ cup (50 mL) cheese plus bread crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes or at 325°F (160°C) for 40 minutes (handy if you need more time to prep for your guests while dinner cooks), until pasta is bubbling and slightly brown on top.
- Makes 6 to 8 servings.
- In a serving: 393 calories, 13.8 g protein, 13.2 g fat, 54.1 g carbohydrates, 140 mcg folate, 182 mcg calcium