WEEKDAYS 1e|12c|p

BLT Pasta Bakes

Bacon + Leeks + Tomatoes = One Delicious Pasta Dish
skill level
"Tender leeks, crispy bacon, and tangy tomatoes. This pasta bake is bursting with flavor!" -- Rachael Ray Courtesy of Rachael Ray's Book of 10.
  • Coarse salt1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO )8 slices bacon
  • coarsely chopped2 large leeks
  • trimmed of roots and dark green topsCoarse black pepper3 tablespoons unsalted butter3 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 teaspoon paprika3 cups whole milk1 cup chicken stock or broth3 1/2 cups grated Gruy√®re cheese1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 pint cherry tomatoes3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
step-by-step directions We've Made Cooking As Easy As 1-2-3! printer friendly version 
  • 1
    Coarse salt
    1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
    Place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water reaches a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook until al dente.
  • 2
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
    While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO and chopped bacon and cook until crisp.
  • 3
    2 large leeks, trimmed of roots and dark green tops
    While the bacon is cooking, split the trimmed leeks in half lengthwise, lay the leeks cut side down, and thinly slice into half-moons.
  • 4
    Fill a large bowl with water and mix the leeks into the water. Allow the water to settle and the dirt and grit to settle on the bottom of the bowl.
  • 5
    Using your hands, draw the leeks from the water, taking care to not unsettle the dirt. Drain the cleaned leeks on a kitchen towel, pat dry, and then add to the pan with the bacon.
  • 6
    Coarse black pepper
    Coarse salt
    Season the leeks with salt and pepper. Cook the leeks until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 7
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon paprika
    To start the cheese sauce, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the flour, cayenne, and paprika and whisk together over the heat until the roux bubbles; cook for 1 minute more.
  • 8
    3 cups whole milk
    1 cup chicken stock or broth
    Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a little. Bring the sauce to a quick boil and simmer to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • 9
    3 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 3 cups of the grated cheese and the mustard. Set aside.
  • 10
    1 pint cherry tomatoes
    Add the cherry tomatoes to the leeks and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
  • 11
    Preheat the broiler. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pasta pot.
  • 12
    Combine the reserved leek mixture and the cheese sauce with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 13
    3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
    Transfer the pasta to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese with the bread crumbs. Top the pasta with the mixture.
  • 14
    Place the dish under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bread crumbs are brown. 

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