Spaghetti with a Creamy Parmesan and Bacon Sauce

Do you ever end up having way too much left over spaghetti and no sauce? That seems to happen to me all the time. I always end up making way too much. I do love eating just the pasta, mixing it with some butter, olive oil, lots of parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. I could just eat a bowl full of that and be a happy woman, but hubby….well, not so much. He says it should have some kind of sauce. So, this is really what this dish evolved from, a compromise of left over spaghetti, adding butter, parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, bacon…. I mean bacon makes everything better right…. and turning into a creamy, delightful indulgence.

As a side note, I know in the picture it looks like it’s raining black pepper, but it really isn’t that much. It really depends on what you like, so you can add however little or as much as you like.

Here’s what you need:

This is for 2 servings because that’s basically what I had left of the spaghetti, but you can double this if you want more.

*4 C. spaghetti, cooked.

*4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled.

*1 TBS butter

*1 TBS flour

*1 C. milk

*1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese + more for serving

*salt to taste;

*cracked pepper to taste + more for serving

Heat a large pan to medium high heat; add the butter. I used the same pan that I had cooked the bacon in and reserved a small amount of the bacon fat, but this is optional.

When the butter is melted, add in the flour.

Start whisking the flour and butter together for about 1 minute or until the flour and butter mixture starts to becomes smooth.

Turn down the heat to medium and slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk.

When the mixture starts to bubble and thicken a little, add in the bacon, salt, pepper and the parmesan cheese. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture (roux) is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the spaghetti to the pan.

I did not warm the pasta up since it will become hot by adding it to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the cream sauce until it is well coated.

Top with more parmesan cheese and pepper before serving.

Baked Spaghetti

Spaghetti with meat sauce is one of those satisfying comfort foods that you can plan for when you are having friends and family over, or you just want to grab a fork and indulge. This is that dish, but imagine some nice, gooey cheese to make it even better. For this I used my Shortcut Meat Sauce, but you can make your own, either way this is definitely a dish that will make everyone happy.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB spaghetti

*my Shortcut Meat Sauce or your own homemade

*3 C. shredded cheese, divided; I used a Colby Jack cheddar blend

Prepare the meat sauce.

While the sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti according to package directions, minus one minute. The pasta will continue to cook while in the sauce, so you do not want the pasta to get over done; drain.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Reserve 2 Cups of the sauce; set aside.

Toss the pasta in the sauce ( not the reserved sauce).

Spray a large baking dish with non stick spray. Spread half of the pasta in the baking dish.

Top with 1 1/2 C. cheese.

Spread 1/2 of the reserved sauce over the cheese.

add remaining pasta mixture on top; spread the rest of the reserved sauce over the pasta.

Top with remaining cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

*Tip* Spray the foil with non stick spray before covering to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.

Uncover and continue to bake for 10 minutes.

take out of the oven and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cut into slices and serve.

Shortcut Meat Sauce

I’m a big fan of making my own homemade meat sauce, but there are times when I want to put a dish together quickly or I’m just too tired to do all of the work it takes to make a great sauce. This is my go to shortcut sauce. I have used it in many dishes that require a meat sauce. With some added love and ingredients, no one will know it came from a jar…… just make sure you get rid of the evidence before anyone enters the kitchen. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*2 jars or your favorite spaghetti sauce

*1 Tbs olive oil

*1 small onion, diced

*2 cloves of garlic, minced

*2 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. sweet paprika, or more to taste

*1 bay leaf

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste; yes you read right, chili powder in a small amount doesn’t really add the heat, but it adds another depth of flavor.

*salt, to taste

Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. When the pan becomes hot add olive oil and onion and cook about 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and saute until onions are softened, but do not let the garlic burn. Add the ground beef, and break into large pieces while mixing it with the onion and the garlic; let it brown for several minutes. As the beef continues to brown, break it up into even smaller pieces. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, but not too often so all of the meat can brown; drain if needed and add back to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the spices except for the bay leaf, cook for about 1 minute, stirring to mix spices into the beef. Carefully add both jars of sauce; stir to mix well and add in the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Use right away or refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. This also freezes nicely in an airtight container or zip top bag for 4 to 6 months.

Enjoy!