Transforming basic ingredients (looking at you, pasta, bacon and cheese!) into an elegant dinner is easier than you might think. We’ll show you how to make Baked Penne with Mushrooms, Bacon and Spinach in seven simple steps.
What you’ll need:
- 3-quart baking dish
- 12-inch sauté pan
- Slotted spoon
- Tin foil
Cook pasta as directed on package. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta; return to stockpot. Add cream; toss. Set aside.
Spray 12-inch sauté pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp. With slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan to plate; set aside.
Add onions, salt and pepper to bacon drippings in pan; cook and stir 4 to 7 minutes or until translucent.
Add mushrooms; cook 6 to 10 minutes longer or until browned and liquid evaporates.
Place thawed spinach in a paper towel-lined strainer set over a medium bowl. Squeeze spinach in the towels to remove as much liquid as possible.
Add spinach and reserved pasta cooking water; cook and stir 1 minute.
Pour mushroom mixture over pasta; toss to coat. Pour into a greased baking dish. Top evenly with both cheeses. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F. Remove foil; top with reserved bacon. Bake uncovered 5 minutes longer.
Prepare and assemble the casserole, without baking, up to a day ahead. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Then, remove foil, add bacon and bake 5 minutes longer.
Lose the bacon for a meat-free twist, or just add bacon to bacon lovers' bowls for a pasta that pleases vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Don’t forget to tell us how it turned out!