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Food & Recipes

Pumpkin Rigatoni with Turkey Bacon

October 23, 2015

PumpkinMac_1I’ve been making some version of this easy pumpkin sauce for more nights than I can count. It’s ultra-easy once you get the hang of making it and goes with pasta as well as roasted veggies. Although my husband’s preference leans strongly toward pasta with turkey bacon, my preference is for spooning it on top of roasted broccoli with a side of toast.

This dish could easily be made a day in advance and tossed in the oven for a quick dinner. Since it’s just me and Joe eating dinner (and feeding small bites to Ainsley now and again) I scaled this dish down a bit from the typical casserole size. We love eating leftovers but not leftovers for an entire week!


Pumpkin Rigatoni with Turkey Bacon
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 to 3 servings
  • 2 cups rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock (or broth)
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 pieces turkey bacon, crisp-cooked according to package directions and crumbled
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray - I used a 6x6-inch dish. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
  2. In a small saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk together until smooth. Continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until flour is cooked slightly. Whisk in the stock and milk and continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken just slightly. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree and ricotta cheese. Stir in the basil, thyme, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce along with ¼ cup of the mozzarella cheese and all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon. Spoon mixture into the prepared dish.
  4. Top the pasta with the remaining ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese, an additional 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese and the remaining crumbled bacon.
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.



Quick and Easy Bacon-Tomato Penne

April 24, 2014

Bacon Tomato Pasta 1 | Espresso and Cream

Before I share this recipe with you, I should clarify that while a lot of my recipes are on the healthier side, this recipe isn’t winning any awards for being health conscious. However, when I threw this meal together last week for Joe after a trip to the gym, he raved about how delicious it was and demanded that I blog about it. Usually Joe isn’t one to demand I blog about anything, so when he insisted I obliged. In fact, I made a batch of this pasta earlier in the week and put it into lunch containers immediately so that Joe would be able to enjoy lunches at work that were better than turkey and cheese or PB&J.

If you’re a fan of meals that are quick and easy to throw together and require very few ingredients (and really, who isn’t?) then you will love this recipe. I’ve tried it both warm and cold and can say that both ways are delicious, although I do prefer it warm since the flavors are more pronounced.

After making this dish a couple times, I’ve been thinking of ways to add a little freshness to this dish, mainly something green. Although I didn’t add any, a couple handfuls of arugula or a little fresh basil would be a great addition. Let me know if you try it and add anything different to your version, since I’m always looking for ways to adapt dishes and keep things fresh.

Bacon Tomato Pasta 2 | Espresso and Cream

Quick and Easy Bacon-Tomato Penne
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
This is Joe's new favorite dinner, and I don't mind making it because it's so incredibly easy! This makes enough to serve two generously, or three smaller portions. It's usually enough for Joe to eat for dinner one night and have leftovers to take to work the next day.
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, cut bacon into small pieces. Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is very crispy and deeply colored. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from skillet and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  3. Add tomatoes to skillet with bacon drippings and cook tomatoes over medium high heat 2 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes are softened slightly. Add butter, oregano and red pepper flakes to skillet along with cooked pasta.
  4. Divide pasta mixture among two bowls. Top with the bacon. Serve immediately.


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