Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

Lately, we’ve been busy tidying up the garden after the ravages of winter. It’s hard to believe that only three weeks ago it was snowing, as this cardinal will attest.


Now the leaves are on the trees, along with peach, pear and apple blossoms. My daffodils have bloomed and gone, and the tulips are taking their bow. I hope that winter is a distant memory where you are too.



Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

This is a yummy recipe containing one of my favorite veggies, leeks. It also has a lovely cheesy, mustardy sauce, which enhances the flavor of the leeks, and the fresh breadcrumbs give it a nice crunch. For the breadcrumbs, I usually toast 2 slices of wheat bread and Mick crumbles it up into chunky breadcrumbs. Well it gives him something to do when he’s loitering around the kitchen getting under the feet. :-) You can, of course, pulse them in a food processor, if you prefer.

For a veggie version, omit bacon, use 4 leeks instead of 2, 8 ounces of mushrooms instead of 6, and vegetable stock instead of chicken.



Ingredients:

2 slices wheat bread
6 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, sliced
8 ounces penne pasta
1 cup chicken stock
1½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground mustard powder (use 1 if you don’t like it too mustardy)
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded and divided
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Toast bread, crumble into breadcrumbs and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan covered with a lid, simmer leeks in chicken stock for about 5 minutes.
  • While leeks simmer, put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta, and fry bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  • Drain leeks and set aside, reserving ¼ of a cup of stock.
  • Add pasta to boiling water, reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside.
  • While pasta boils, make sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a
    medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour and mustard powder. Gradually add the ¼ cup of stock until you have a smooth paste. Return pan to heat, gradually add milk, then cream, stirring continuously until sauce thickens.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in half the cheese.
  • Grease a 7x11x3-inch baking dish with a little butter. Add pasta, leeks, bacon and mushrooms to dish and mix to combine the ingredients. Pour over mustard/cheese sauce, top with remaining shredded cheddar, and finally top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.







10 comments:

Lynda said...

I'm so glad the snow and cold are gone! Spring is just what we need after that cold winter.
I'm loving this pasta dish with the crunchy crumbs on top. It's perfect comfort food with mushrooms and leeks.
Great photos Jan!

Sophie said...

What a beautiful red bird!!

I love that spring is here!

The blossoms are blooming!

Your dish is so apart & yet so tasty & appetizing, Jan!!

A lovely meal to shared with your loved ones!

Penny said...

Jan, There is nothing better than the smell of bacon and leeks cooking. This looks like a great casserole. It has just the right amount of pasta in it and love the crunchy cheesy topping. Makes me want to try it.

Pam said...

I love that photo of the red cardinal. Spring has sprung - finally! Your tulips are so pretty.

I haven't cooked with leeks much at all...this recipe makes me want to change that. It looks and sounds creamy and delicious - you can't beat homemade bread crumbs.

Jason said...

I'm also a huge leek fan, they have such great flavor! This recipe looks divine, Jan! Can't wait to give it a whirl, especially since it has bacon :)

Levinson Axelrod said...

Great to see a new post. The combination of ingredients is excellent. Looks very tasty.

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

My kind of pasta dish!! Warming up nicely here too - apparently the UK is in for the hottest summer on record....!?

Julie said...

I love that fat cardinal..how cute he is! I love that pasta even more!

Jan said...

Loving this dish - leeks and bacon and pasta - YUM!

Kevin said...

This pasta bake sounds so tasty and good!