Baked Penne with Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers & B.A.C.O.N

This recipe was an entry into the Pacific Foods Everyday Chef Challenge: Baked Penne with Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon.

The challenge was to come up with a recipe using one of Pacific Natural Foods Creamy Soups + spinach. My family loves baked pasta dishes, and I love that they’re so easy to assemble. I thought their Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup would make a fabulous base for a new baked pasta recipe, so I created a creamy sauce out of it.

It worked wonderfully… the creamy, sweet flavors of Roasted Red Peppers and Tomato do delicious things for pasta. I incorporated spinach, bacon and roasted red peppers. And there’s plenty of cheese too!

This recipe makes a whole bunch, which is a good thing since it tastes even better the next day!

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Baked Penne with Spinach, Roasted Peppers and Bacon

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 35 min

I created this recipe to enter into a recipe contest. I didn't win, but we did love the recipe!

Ingredients:

SAUCE:
16 ounce container of Pacific Natural Foods Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
2 cups 2% milk
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
freshly ground pepper, to taste

PASTA:
1 pound penne pasta (or ziti), cooked until tender, but still firm to the bite
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
3/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
1 1/2 cups cubed Provolone cheese
8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x13-inch pan (or other 2 1/2-quart baking dish) with nonstick spray.

2. Prepare sauce: Heat soup and milk in a medium saucepan until small bubbles begin to form around the edges (just until hot). In a larger saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring, until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly begin adding hot soup/milk mixture to the large saucepan, whisking constantly while adding. Sauce will start out lumpy and become smooth as the liquid is incorporated.

3. Assemble the dish: In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Break apart the spinach with your fingers and add it to the bowl. Also add red peppers, provolone cheese and 3/4 cup of Parmesan. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with bacon crumbles and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Finish with a good dose of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

4. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and the center is hot (about 10 minutes more). Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips:

*Pacific Natural Foods Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup can usually be found in your market's natural food's aisle.
*Don't use generic pasta for this recipe. In baked pasta recipes, generic pasta tends to overcook. Make sure that you only cook the pasta to "al dente" state- about 5 minutes for penne. It will cook more in the baking process and become more tender.
*Substitutions: You can sub mozzarella for the Provolone, but the provolone will give the dish more flavor. Try using Applewood Smoked Bacon in this recipe too... so delicious.
*I kept the salt low in this recipe- using salted butter & a sprinkle of kosher salt on top of the pasta. Add more salt if you'd like.

Source: www.RecipeGirl.com

Leave a Comment




29 Responses to “Baked Penne with Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers & B.A.C.O.N”

  1. 1

    marla — September 29, 2010 @ 6:15 AM

    You got my vote for sure! This pasta dish looks amazing, my whole family would love it.

  2. 2

    Heather — September 29, 2010 @ 6:17 AM

    This looks great Lori! My grandmother always says, “everything tastes better with bacon”
    Now on my way to vote! Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe!

  3. 3

    Liz @ LBBakes — September 29, 2010 @ 6:23 AM

    Voting for you! If you win, you’ll make it for all of us, right? :)

  4. 4

    Traci — September 29, 2010 @ 6:45 AM

    Just voted for you! Good luck, this looks delicious!!

  5. 5

    Lauren at KeepItSwee — September 29, 2010 @ 7:34 AM

    good luck!

  6. 6

    Lana — September 29, 2010 @ 7:46 AM

    Going to vote for your recipe in just a second, but had to stop to say how fabulous this both looks and sounds! It’s definitely on my must-try list!

  7. 7

    LilSis — September 29, 2010 @ 8:33 AM

    Just voted for your recipe! This looks amazing. I know my family would love it!!

  8. 8

    patsyk — September 29, 2010 @ 10:11 AM

    Just voted for you! That looks fantastic, and I love that the leftovers taste even better… yum! Good luck!

  9. 9

    Cristina — September 29, 2010 @ 5:21 PM

    OMGosh – What a gorgeous looking pasta dish! You definitely have my vote. The photos alone are edible!

  10. 10

    Katie @ The Small Bo — September 29, 2010 @ 5:28 PM

    These pictures are soooo delicious! They made me want to curl up with a big bowl of it. I also love the red pepper and spinach combo and of course, the cheese….looks beautiful!

  11. 11

    MissJillian — September 29, 2010 @ 5:33 PM

    Oh my gosh, this looks SO yummy. I’m going to have to try out this recipe myself if it tastes even half as good as it looks. Voted for you too! How could I not after seeing this recipe?

  12. 12

    megan — September 30, 2010 @ 3:25 AM

    I love your creativity! This dish looks wonderful. I love baked pasta dishes :) I think you’ve earned my vote ;)

  13. 13

    Sarah from 20somethi — September 30, 2010 @ 8:13 AM

    Wow – this looks absolutely delish! I’m starving now!

  14. 14

    maggy@threemanycooks — September 30, 2010 @ 10:00 AM

    Wow! That looks positively divine. Bacon and cheese, yes please :)

  15. 15

    Jennifer — September 30, 2010 @ 12:02 PM

    I love bacon and I love pasta. I’m sure I’ll love them together. You got my vote!

  16. 16

    LyB — September 30, 2010 @ 1:44 PM

    Oh, my gosh! Baked pasta is one of my favorite dishes, so many ways to adapt this! Looks delicious!

  17. 17

    Jennifer @ maple n c — October 1, 2010 @ 5:54 AM

    What an awesome pasta dish!!!

  18. 18

    Jen Schall — October 6, 2010 @ 5:33 PM

    This pasta looks phenomenal!

  19. 19

    Janelle — October 15, 2010 @ 7:22 AM

    I made this the other night — very good! There is so much flavor in this dish, I love it! I think next time, though, I might use a little less spinach and more red peppers.

  20. 20

    Deanna — January 13, 2012 @ 1:32 PM

    Made it the other night. Used whole wheat pasta (in hopes of disguising it) and it soaked up all the sauce. I was sad because i had made bread to sop up the sauce.
    It was pretty good. I was hoping for more bacon flavor and I had to add salt but the hubs (who pretty much LOATHES casseroles!) liked it. (and the heavens opened and the angels sang!!!)
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. 21

    Sammy — January 29, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

    I enjoyed this so much that I shared it with friends. Wonderful recipe! Loved it!

  22. 22

    Lisa — April 29, 2012 @ 6:20 PM

    This recipe is excellent! I used diced fresh tomatoes instead of the canned peppers and it turned out so delicious :)

  23. 23

    Leila — August 20, 2013 @ 5:03 PM

    Holy cow was that good. Stellar good. Like I didn’t want to feed my kids because it was so good I didn’t want to share, good. We used apple wood smoked bacon and provolone. And the recipe was easy to cut in 1/2 for our family size. I can’t believe you didn’t win the contest with that.

  24. 24

    Leila — August 20, 2013 @ 5:10 PM

    Also, any chance anyone has tried to do this as a make ahead?

  25. 25

    cathy — November 5, 2013 @ 7:32 AM

    Do you know if it’s been tried with gluten-free pasta (and another type of flour) – hoping to be able to substitute gf pasta. Looks great – want to try it, one way or the other.

    • Lori Lange replied: — November 7th, 2013 @ 8:29 AM

      I have not tried it with gluten free pasta. I’ve heard that Delallo makes a great GF pasta. I’d try it with that one.

  26. 26

    Daria — March 5, 2014 @ 9:05 AM

    How big are the chunks of provolone? Just wondering if they melt down enough.

    • Lori Lange replied: — March 8th, 2014 @ 6:29 AM

      Just chop into small pieces. Yes, they should melt down.

  27. 27

    Daria — March 12, 2014 @ 4:30 PM

    Coming back to comment on my success! I enjoy reading peoples comments on recipes so wanted to let everyone know that it really is a great dish. I served it with some sausage on the side so this was more like a side dish. I halved the recipe and there was still so much. Very tasty! Seemed like something you would get in an Italian restaurant. The only thing I did differently is used fresh spinach. I didn’t cook it, just tore it into pieces and threw in and mixed. Provolone definitely gave it flavor so don’t substitute anything else. Thanks for the creation!