Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cabonara Mac'n'Cheese

Not only is it deceptively cold outside, everyone I know is getting sick. A couple of weeks ago, the Bear was sick. This week and last, my fellow colleagues are dropping like flies with all sorts of nasty. I am washing my hands like I have OCD and maintaining my winter homeopathic vitamin regiment hoping that I don't fall pray to any of the nasty. Since this is primarily a food blog, I won't discuss anymore. That is not very appetizing. If you are cold or recovering from any sort of nasty, you may enjoy this...

Oh yea, that is bacon you see. Mmm....bacon. I got the idea for this recipe from my husband's Cabonara Style Hot Pockets. He informed me that they are only available for a limited time, but he did finish the box just so the flavors would not conflict with my Cabonara Mac'n'Cheese. Oh the Bearness. Such an informed consumer. I cannot enjoy Hot Pockets anymore. Really, I'm solidly okay with that.

This recipe contains components of a cabonara style pasta dish, without the egg, butter, and added calories. To keep the recipe nice and creamy, I substituted 1/3 less fat cream cheese for the butter and eggs. I kept the bacon, but used a leaner center cut bacon instead. Full of creamy, bacony, comforting goodness this recipe can be made ahead and enjoyed on a weeknight when you are seeking healthier comfort food.

Cabonara Mac'n'Cheese

2 cups dried brown rice penne noodles
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 slices center cut bacon, chopped
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 cloves pressed garlic
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Spray a 9' x 13' baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the pasta, peas, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Heat a medium sized sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the bacon. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown and crisp a little. Add the onions. Cook another 4-5 minutes or until the onions begin to look translucent in color. Add the milk, garlic, and cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Poor the milk mixture over the pasta and stir to combine. Pour the mixture (it will be soupy) into the baking dish. Cover and store in your refrigerator until you are ready to bake and serve. When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, let the pasta sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Then, cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.


  1. Made this tonight, doubled it for a crowd and everyone loved it :)