Baked Pasta Casserole w/ Bacon

by zesty on November 17, 2010 · 25 comments

A slight issue in the house that zesty built.  The furnace is NOT working.  Nothing to be alarmed about but I just do not have a tonne of time to post as I have to get the technician here and still get zesty junior on the bus and hit the office for a meeting.  In addition to the quick recap post today and remembering one of my favorite pasta dishes in the past year, I will be back tomorrow with a very exciting Book review.  I know an off schedule Thursday post…. kind of exciting?  I thought you would agree. So with that said, please enjoy this post from January of this year and stay tuned for tomorrow’s book review.


I have a pretty fun recipe to share with you today.  Remember back around the new year  – we went to a potluck and I was unsure what to bring.  Well I was surfing the net looking for ideas and I strolled by Heidi’s 101 Cookbooks and found an very interesting and delicious pasta dish.  Once laying my eyes on the picture I was hooked and then I read deeper into the recipe and I was all set.  I had all the ingredients on hand minus the mozzarella so that was a snap to pick up.


I thought about adding a few ingredients to it that I had on hand not that it needed it -I just thought it would be nice to use of the stuff I had in the fridge.  The additions were chicken, bacon and roasted tomatoes.  Let’s just say it was a huge hit at the potluck.


  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
  • sea salt
  • 2 Chicken breasts (sliced and cooked)
  • 8 pieces of bacon  (cooked and crumbled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups well-chopped fresh spinach
  • 10-12 Roasted grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, shredded or torn into small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Image_003


  3. Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan – something roughly equivalent to 13×9-inch pan.
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  5. In a separate saute pan cook the bacon until crispy and then remove and set aside.
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  7. In a separate saute pan dry roast the almonds until brown and then remove and set aside.
  8. Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with some olive oil. Set aside.
  9. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the chicken with a couple pinches of salt until no longer pink.
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  11. While the chicken is cooking, pop some tomatoes in the oven to start the roasting process – toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 12-15 minutes.
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  13. Back to the chicken -stir in garlic and roasted tomatoes and let cook for a minute.  Toss in bacon and spinach. Cook for just about 20 seconds, until the spinach collapses a bit.
  14. final_pasta




  15. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 of the zest; mixing extremely well, a minute or so.
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  17. Now sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the rest of the zest.
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  19. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese and chicken mixture, add more pasta, then more cheese and more chicken mixture until complete. Finish with a layer of cheese.
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  21. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly.
  22. Serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds.
  23. final_pasta

  24. ENJOY!

Zesty Tip: This pasta dish was really really good!  The only thing I noticed is that if you overcook it at all it will become pretty dry.  To avoid this you could add a little lemon juice to the chicken mixture and just be sure not to over bake the pasta and eat right away.

Around the Blogsphere

Are you ever looking for great blogs that have fun and exciting recipes?  I thought you would be so I decided I would share with you a few of my favorites in case you didn’t already know.

Here are some great recipe blogs that you will sure to find handy.

Kayln’s Kitchen – For a great combination of home cooked ideas, healthy alternatives and all around great recipes – this is a great spot.

Southern Plate – For all things Southern, Christy has it covered.  If you have never been here – it is a must to see.

RecipeGirl - This site has a lot of action, great recipes and Lori really knows how to cook.  Check it out.

Bakerella - Ever want to learn how to make the most amazing cake pops.  Bakerella is really amazing.

Joythebaker - For all things baking, it is a must to check out Joy.  You may never leave.

So there you have it.  A truly fun recipe to try on a Sunday afternoon and a great list of recipe blogs that you should check out for sure.  I hope you have a great Wednesday and I think I may have a little announcement on Friday.  Nothing major but just a little more fun.

Have a super Wednesday.

Take care


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marisa (Loser for Life)

Bacon makes everything better! Wow, that looks so good! Love those one dish meals :)


2 Lori @ RecipeGirl

Yum! We’re in need of major comfort food around here w/ the storms and all. Thanks for the site mention!


3 Duchess of Fork

Oh, good Lord, Zesty! This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing. By the way, I’m having another slice of the Low Fat Whole Wheat Coffee Cake as we speak. I just love it!


4 patsyk

That’s a delicious looking casserole! I’d love to be at one of your potluck dinners!


5 Scorpio Woman

Looks so yummy!


6 Kalynskitchen

The casserole looks delicious. Just the kind of thing that everyone would enjoy at a pot-luck.

Thanks for the mention of my blog too, greatly appreciated.


7 Jennifer (Savor)

This pasta dish does look amazing-I can see why you had to make it after one photo. This seems like a great way to use up leftovers as well. Yum


8 Kim

Everything is better with bacon! YUM!! This looks so good!!


9 Beth @ DiningAndDishing

Ohh I have been looking for a good pasta casserole. Great recipe!


10 DailyChef

Can’t go wrong adding some bacon! This looks delicious. Thanks for the pointers on other blogs too – always fun to find new reads :)


11 Heide

Interesting casserole! I like the idea of adding bacon.


12 Molly

Ah yes, nicely put, eeyvorne.


13 Tina @ Mommy's Kitchen

That looks so good. I love everything thats in it. I am a pasta fanatic.


14 Kelly

I’m confused. Step 9 says to stir the cooked chicken, tomato, garlic, spinach, bacon and almond mixture into the cooked pasta. Stir and Stir, about a minute or so.

The photos then depict layers of plain pasta with a layer of cheese. Why? Am I missing something?



15 ZestyCook

@kelly – No you are not missing a step. I just wrote the instructions incomplete. I modified them now so it should make more sense. I didn’t combine the chicken mixture and the pasta in the pan together. I added a layer of cooked pasta and then the chicken mixture etc…. sorry for the confusion and thanks for picking up on that.



16 kellyg

I’m eating it right now. Five stars! Excellent!


17 ZestyCook

@KellyG – So glad you are liking it! It is definitely a true comfort meal!


18 Celia

Could this be successful without the cheese? or is there something that could substitute? My mouth is absolutely watering over this recipe, but cheese/yogurt causes problems for my partner (other dairy is OK though).

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!


19 Sara

I made this yesterday for my boyfriend and I. It was easy, quick, and my boyfriend flipped over it! He LOVED it! I’ve never seen him so in love with a casserole before! This is definitely a 5 star recipe. It’s absolutely delicious!

To make it easier on myself when it came to washing the dishes after, I actually sliced and cooked the tomatoes in the skillet with the chicken and garlic instead of in the oven. The garlic and tomato flavors worked their magic for sure!

Also, I’d reccomend more chicken and cheese. I like a lot of meat and things in my casseroles so I’d probably slice up 3-4 breasts next time and definitely get two bags of cheese since my 8ounce bag was nearly gone before the last layer!

Overall, AMAZING!


20 ZestyCook

@Sara – Thanks so much for the kind words. Great note on the chicken and cheese if you want it a bit heavier.


21 Natalie

That looks so good.


22 rakebackinn

I love this one, I like chicken combination with bacon.


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