Creamy Pasta, Bacon and Vegetable Bake with 5 Grain Cheese Toast, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Creamy Pasta, Bacon and Vegetable Bake with 5 Grain Cheese Toast,

Warmer weather usually means lighter pasta dishes around here. So, last night I cooked up a pasta dish I had bookmarked and had wanted to try. (The only problem here is I seem to have brought back cooler weather instead of warmer weather. We had record lows last night…some places dipping down as low as 27°…and yes, we are talking about the Deep South.)

This recipe is from a light pasta cookbook and as usual I’ve made a few adaptations. The original recipe calls for penne pasta. You could use whatever large pasta you have on hand like ziti or in my case I had a box of rigatoni. It worked just as well and was just as tasty. I would not use small shaped pasta.

Also the recipe calls for cottage cheese and low fat, part skimmed ricotta cheese. I forgot to grab some ricotta when I was at the store the other day, so I just substituted cottage cheese for the ricotta.

I also have to admit to being hopelessly in love with a Christmas gift of my husband’s. I love his immersion (stick) blender I bought him several years ago. It’s a joke around here that so far I am the only one to have used it. He’s not even been around when I’ve used it.

Honey, it works like a dream. Smile

I served a toasted five grain cheese toast with this last night. Just take some sliced five grain bread, lightly spread it with light butter. Place a mild white cheese on top of each slice of bread (I use provolone or Vermont white cheddar) and bake or broil until cheese is melted.

Mmm…mmm…mmm…so good!

Creamy Pasta, Bacon and Vegetable Bake

3 cups broccoli florets

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

8 ounces large shaped pasta like penne, ziti or rigatoni

1 cup skimmed evaporated milk

1 ½ cups cottage cheese

2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (you can substitute more cottage cheese here if you’re out of ricotta or if you prefer)

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus 2 tablespoons or more to sprinkle on the top)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 egg

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 ounces Canadian bacon, diced

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large pot cook the broccoli and red pepper in boiling salt water. Cook for about 2 minutes until vegetables are tender crisp.

3. Remove vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain. Reserve the cooking water to cook the pasta in.

4. Cook pasta in reserved vegetable water until it’s just tender (do not overcook).

5. Drain pasta. Return to the pot. Add the cooked vegetables and toss until evenly distributed.

6. Meanwhile combine the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese (or more cottage cheese if substituting), ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, evaporated milk, egg and flour. With an emersion (stick) blender or food processor or blender puree ingredients until smooth for at least one minute.

7. Next add parsley and black pepper and continue to puree until well blended.

8. Pour over the pasta and vegetable mixture and stir to combine ingredients well.

9. Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

10. Remove foil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I will admit to using a little bit more than 2 tablespoon). Place back into the oven and continue baking for an additional 4 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Enjoy!!

creamy pasta, bacon and vegetable bake

creamy pasta bake with cheese toast

Creamy Pasta, Bacon and Vegetable Bake with 5 Grain Bread Cheese Toast

©2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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