Other than slow cookers, casserole dishes are probably the next best thing a cooking college student would want to have. Actually, it’s probably the most important thing any cook who is short on time needs! With class, homework, and group projects you probably now find yourself strapped for time to cook.
Do you remember your mom making her what-cha-m’call-it casserole that was made from leftover meals? Do you feel sorry that you refused to eat it? Now you probably have a little more appreciation for her cooking.
Today is technically our first casserole dish (we say technically because our mac and cheese is pretty much a casserole) that uses a lot of ingredients you might already have on hand. This dish is very rich so it will last you and is perfect as a left over.
Bacon Pasta Casserole
Great as a meal itself or as a side dish with a light meal.
- Servings – 6 to 8
- Prep time – 10 minutes
- Cook time – 45 minutes
- 1 pound cooked penne pasta
- 6 to 8 strips of bacon (or more if you like!)
- 3 cups of your favorite shredded cheese
- 4 cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
1. Preheat your oven to 350º F.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the penne. Drain after 11 minutes or when al dente. While your pasta is cooking, fry your bacon in a large pan until crispy. About 10 minutes.
3. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel to cool (once cooled crumble into small bits). Drain the bacon drippings except for 2 tablespoons which you leave in the pan.
4. Over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the bacon drippings until onions are translucent. About 5 minutes.
5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir.
6. Pour in the half and half, add the thyme, parsley, and pepper flakes and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce this by 1/3.
7. In the large pot you cooked your pasta in, combine the pasta, the contents in the pan, bacon bits, and the cheese and mix until cheese has melted.
8. Pour the contents of the pot into a 9×13 inch casserole dish and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
9. Let cool and enjoy!