October 22, 2010

rotini with cheddar and bacon

Rotini is not my favorite kind of pasta, but Michael loves it. I do like the way the spirals in the noodles catch whatever sauce you put on it. That part isn't too terrible, right? See below:

YUM! Not terrible at all, actually. I came up with my own cheddar cheese sauce, then added crispy bacon and peas. What could be better than that?

I used vegetable rotini because it's so colorful. It's made from spinach, carrots and tomatoes. I like the flavor it adds to this dish. Drop a box of it in a big pot of boiling water. Give it a "big stir" (That's an Ina Garten reference. If you know what I'm talking about, you are awesome.) so it doesn't stick together. Then let it do it's thing while you make the sauce.

Oh gosh, there is nothing like bacon sizzling away on the stove. It's a beautiful thing. I used 6 slices for this recipe, which serves 5-6 people. Or, if you're feeding Michael and my Dad... it serves 2.

This is very important... you have to do one of two things:

1. Cook a couple extra pieces of bacon to snack on while you're cooking

2. Hide the bacon!! Put it in the microwave, a kitchen cabinet, your bedroom... anywhere that makes you almost forget about it. Because you will eat it and there won't be enough for the pasta. Trust.

Next comes minced garlic and onion. Watch as they sizzle away and the bacon bits turn the onions golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic! I do that all the time... disaster.

Right after that, pour the Worcestershire sauce into the pan. It should make a loud sizzling noise and smoke up a bit. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all that flavor off the bottom of the pan.

At this point, your kitchen smells ridiculous.

Next comes flour and milk. Classic white sauce ingredients. Gradually add the milk as the flour thickens it, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce will be a delicious caramel color.

Then throw in the cheddar cheese. YUM!

Oh gosh. It's too much.

Stir in the bacon pieces that you had hiding in your bathtub. Does that look like the crumbs from 6 pieces of bacon to you? Oops...

I mixed in some frozen peas until they were thawed, then added the cheddar cheese sauce. Oh my goodness. So good.

This is such an easy homemade sauce, and has so much smoky flavor. You will love it!

Oh, and if you are wondering how the London Broil that was marinating all night turned out...


Here's the pasta recipe:

Rotini with Cheddar and Bacon

1 pound rotini (I used Ronzoni Garden Delight)
6 slices bacon (I used low-sodium bacon)
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups fat free milk

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen peas

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and put it on several paper towels to absorb the grease. Also, skim some fat out of the pan, leaving a couple tablespoons to give flavor to the dish.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan, swirling to coat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. The onions will turn golden brown as they cook in the butter and bacon fat. Add garlic, sauteing for 30 seconds or so, stirring constantly and being careful not to burn.

Pour in Worcestershire sauce and use a wooden spoon to scrape all the yummy stuff off the bottom of the pan. Drop the heat a little, and add flour. Stir constantly, the flour will form a paste as it combines. Cook for a few minutes, this takes away that raw flour taste.

Drop the heat to low and gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce will start to thicken and turn a beautiful caramel color. Once all the milk is added, bring to a boil and keep whisking until the sauce is thick, a couple minutes. Then remove from heat.

Add cheese, stir until melted. Add crumbled bacon. I also added a pinch of salt and pepper, which you can do if you wish.

When pasta is cooked, drain and put back in the big pot. Add peas, stir until thawed. Then add cheese sauce and combine. Serve immediately.


  1. I was one of the lucky recipients of this dish last night, all I can say is YUM!!!

  2. After reading Ashley's posts of meals and now yours, I'm thinking if I had the two of you I would never have to cook another meal:)

  3. This was so incredible!! I would eat this every day.

    Well done, my love :)

  4. i can't wait to make this!! looks delicious.

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