It’s Monday, I got off work a little late tonight, and I had to stop by HEB to pick up milk on my way home. Because I knew it was going to take me a little while to get home tonight, I wanted something that would be pretty quick and simple. I came up with an idea and it was awesome! I had most everything at home already so all I had to pick up at the store was bacon and 40 oz. jar of Ragu with chunky mushrooms! So here’s the idea… Bacon, pasta, a bechamel sauce mixed with the Ragu, and fresh mushrooms. Sounds delicious, right?! I got home and gathered everything together before getting started. I’ve learned over the years that getting everything together before you get started helps shorten up the time all together.
The great thing about this recipe is it’s very versatile! You can substitute turkey bacon, low sodium bacon, add extra veggies (like bell peppers), or different pasta sauces. You could also use a homemade pasta sauce. I love making my own sauce, but when I’m trying to get something together quickly during the week, a good store bought sauce works wonders!
I started out cutting the entire package of bacon in half (I’m keeping half of it for my breakfast for the rest of the week, but feel free to use the entire package). I took that 1/2 pack of bacon and cut it into small pieces before putting it into a deep frying pan on medium high heat. While the bacon started heating up, I put a deep pot of water to boil for the pasta.
As the bacon started to brown I added a couple of handfuls of fresh mushrooms (you can add as many or as few as you like) until the bacon was crispy and the mushrooms were brown. Drain the bacon and mushrooms and set aside.
As the pasta water starts to boil add salt and the pasta (we had shells at the house from a buy 1 get one free deal at HEB last week).
Boil your pasta 8-10 min until al dente. As the pasta boils, add the butter to the pan that the bacon was in and melt on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk together to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes to ensure you have cooked out the flour taste.
Slowly add the milk, whisking quickly to ensure there are no clumps. Make sure you add the milk slowly though! That’s really important.
Continue to stir until the bechamel sauce begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
At this point you start adding the Ragu pasta sauce. I added about 1/2 the jar because I wanted to keep the other half for something later this week, but you can add the whole jar if you want. It really depends on how much sauce you want. Stir well to combine.
While all this was going on I was also baking fishsticks for my oldest son, J because he won’t eat the pasta. It’s always interesting working on 2 different meals every night. Either way, now that the sauce is finished I combined the pasta, bacon, mushrooms, and sauce.
I served everything in bowls and added some grated Parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese on top as a finishing touch.
My husband, JH and my youngest, A both approved and cleaned their bowls! I was really happy that they liked it as much because it was something I didn’t get from a recipe or other place, I just made it up today while I was thinking about dinner! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!!!
1 bag pasta
1 jar pasta sauce (what brand you prefer and you can use 24-40oz); I used Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom
1- 12oz package of bacon (whatever your favorite is)
4 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp all purpose flour
Fresh sliced mushrooms (as few or as many as your like)
2 cups of milk (whole milk works best)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Start out cutting the bacon into small, bite sized pieces. Toss the bacon into a deep skillet on medium high heat. As the bacon begins to heat up, put a deep pot of water on to boil for the pasta. As the bacon begins to brown up, add a few handfuls of mushrooms. Once bacon has become crispy and mushrooms have browned up, use a strainer to drain the fat (make sure you put a bowl under the strainer so the grease doesn’t go down your drain!). By this time the water should be at a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt (as this is the only time you will be able to season the pasta) and add the pasta into the pot. Lower the heat a little and let the pasta boil for 8-10 minutes until al dente and drain (I used the same strainer as the bacon and mushrooms). While the pasta cooks, add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan you cooked the bacon in and melt on medium heat. Once melted, add 3-4 tablespoons of flour to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes to cook out the taste of flour. Slowly add the milk and whisk vigorously to avoid clumping. Stir frequently until the bechamel sauce begins to thicken and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Now you add the jar of pasta sauce. You can add anywhere from 24-40 oz of pasta sauce, depending on how much sauce you want. Stir to combine and then taste so you can see if you need to adjust the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. In the event the sauce is a little acidic, add a pinch of sugar to help balance everything out. Combine the pasta, bacon, mushrooms, and sauce all together and serve. Enjoy with a little grated Parmesan and shredded cheese on top!