Mac n' Cheese is a beloved staple in many households and is no stranger to being the star side during holiday celebrations! This year, give that classic mac an Italian twist with this Cheesy Bacon and Leek Pasta Bake. This pasta bake boasts a savory Italian cheese blend, and a dash of Mediterranean flavor with the surprisingly delightful addition of fire-roasted tomatoes. Stuffed with leeks, and topped bacon, once they get a bite of this we promise your friends and family won't be missing that old, boring Mac n' Cheese recipe you used to make.
- 3 cups pasta (we recommend rigatoni, penne or even conchiglie)
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
- 6 slices bacon, cut up
- 1 cup sliced leeks
- Basil (for garnish)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup of Parmesan, grated
- ½ cup of Pecorino- Romano, grated
- ½ cup of Mozzarella, grated
- ½ cup of Provolone, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make:
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Return pasta to pot. Add tomatoes with liquid; toss gently to combine.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium heat until desired crispness (keep in mind it will cook more in oven). Allow bacon to cool on paper towel lined plate.
- Drain skillet, reserving 1 teaspoon bacon grease.
- Add leeks to remaining bacon grease; cook 2-3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir bacon and leeks into pasta mixture. Transfer mixture to medium baking dish.
- Carefully add reserved pasta water to skillet, the oil may splatter slightly when the water is added. Scrape up any browned bits at bottom of skillet. Boil gently, until reduced by half. Add cream. Simmer for 5 minutes or until cream slightly thickened, stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Combine four cheese in small bowl. Stir 1 1/4 cups of the cheese mixture into the cream until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture.
- Bake, covered, 30 minutes Sprinkle with remaining cheese, broil on hi until cheese is melted and crisped.
- Let sit at least 5 minutes, top with fresh basil (optional), serve. Enjoy!