Everyone has their own version of comfort food. For some, it’s a dish they grew up eating at their grandma’s house. For others, it’s a quick run through their favorite fast food chain. Either way, we all love to indulge in our own brand of comfort from time to time. Comfort food transports us from the busyness and stress of our day to a place of fond memories, peace and happy thoughts. That’s what pasta does for me. I love a good pasta dish. Although my waistline would not be very forgiving, I could literally eat pasta every single day. I don’t…but I could. I try to include one pasta dish in each week’s meal plan. Some times those dishes are actually on the lighter side, showcasing whole wheat pasta and fresh veggies. Still delicious and still my own brand of comfort. But other times I like to go all out, and that’s what BLT Pasta Bake is all about.
What makes this pasta bake so fun is that the individual ingredients are all awesome in their own right. Leeks? Yes please! Bacon? Obviously. Cream cheese, asiago cheese AND parmesan cheese? Perfection.
If you’re looking for a little bit of comfort today, look no further. BLT Pasta Bake is where it’s at. Enjoy!!
1 lb. package rigatoni
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon, crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 3 oz. bricks cream cheese
1 ½ cups asiago cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cook rigatoni according to package directions. RESERVE 1 CUP OF PASTA WATER!!
- Heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof braising pan or skillet. Add bacon and cook until crispy.
- Add leek, garlic and red pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine, scraping up brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in tomato paste, half of asiago cheese and all of the cream cheese. Add reserved pasta water and stir until cheese is melted and everything is combined. It will be sticky.
- Stir in rigatoni and half of the cherry tomatoes. Top with remaining tomatoes, asiago and parmesan.
- Cook in oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t brown too quickly.