This morning I decided on pasta bake for dinner. You see I am well aware that the next couple of days at our place are going to be a little (or a whole lot) more hectic than usual so in a last ditch effort to summon a sense of peace and calm I quickly through together this creamy broccoli and bacon pasta bake, a.k.a warmth, comfort and serenity in a bowl. In doing so, I can now tackle the work ahead of me with a much needed sense of serenity and calm knowing dinner is only one quick reheat away.
A pasta bake is a fantastic way to feed the family. At our place I often go to the pasta bake option when I have a few odds and ends left over or if I know I need dinner on call for when I am busy busy busy tending to other bits and pieces. Whenever I make pasta bake, leftovers happily nestle in the fridge for a day or so, slowly dissapearing satisfying countless hungry tummy’s.
I adore this recipe, not only because of its deliciousness but its sauce is of the ‘no cook’ variety, meaning I throw all of the ingredients into a jug, give a quick whisk then pour over the just cooked and still warm pasta and broccoli. ‘No cook’ sauces are a working mothers (and fathers) saintly saviour, they can be prepared in the times it takes for pasta to cook ensuring angry appetites will soon be content as dinner can be on the table in less than fifteen.
I decided to add bacon to the mix today because I adore the salty specks of wonderfully juicy meat throughout the pasta; it works really well with the parmesan and broccoli and bulks up the pasta a little creating a more substantial meal. Like usual, instead of frying the bacon I opted for the baking method which simply meant placing a couple of rashers on a lined baking tray and popping in a hot oven for ten minutes, leaving me free to tend to the pasta and sauce.
Once the bacon was happily baking in the oven I turned my attention to the pasta. I started by boiling a big pot of salted water, then added the penne (you can use any short pasta type you like), a couple of minutes later added the broccoli florets and cooked until the pasta was aldente.
Whilst the pasta and broccoli were boiling, I created the creamy lemon sauce. In a medium bowl (or jug) I placed three eggs plus one egg yolk, a ½ cup milk, 1 cup grated parmesan, zest of one lemon, salt and pepper and mixed until all lusciously combined.
I then placed the drained pasta and broccoli and cooked bacon (that I cut into chunky pieces) into an oven proof dish. I poured over the creamy sauce and mixed until all the pasta was coated in the lusciously creamy lemon sauce.
I then took the odds and ends of cheese I had in the refrigerator and grated them all over the top of the pasta. Today I used parmesan, a few balls of fresh bocconcini and a little cheddar. Please feel free to use whatever cheese you have at home, this dish really is a throw together/make it your own type of creation, no careful measuring or specific cheeses required. Just have fun with it!
I then popped the oven dish filled with pasta, creamy sauce and cheese into a hot oven for ten minutes or so, just until the cheese had melted and turned golden and brown. The house quickly filled with the beautiful smells of bacon and cheese and I felt so smug knowing I could get on with work fully aware that dinner for the next couple of days was done.
Creamy broccoli and bacon pasta bake
serves 4, with leftovers
2 rashers of bacon
500 grams short pasta
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
½ cup milk
1 cup parmesan, grated
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups cheese, grated ( I used a combination of cheddar, parmesan and bocconcini)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place bacon on a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked. Cut into small pieces.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add pasta cook for a couple of minutes then add broccoli and cook until pasta is aldente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl place the eggs and egg yolk, milk, parmesan and lemon zest and mix to combine.
In a large oven proof dish place the pasta/broccoli, bacon and cream mixture and stir to combine. Top the pasta with the grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden. Enjoy!
You may also like…