Boys love bacon. It’s a fact. At least in my family! I love bacon too, but not in the way they love it. They love it in that Homer Simpson kind of way, drooling and lolling at it…mmmmmm, bacon…. And, I have to admit, bacon is the ingredient in this recipe that makes it go from good to YUM!
I actually initially made this dish as Pumpkin Pasta…without the bacon! I wanted to create a dinner that contained the nutritional goodness of pumpkin yet also took advantage of Thing 2’s attraction to pasta. The first time I made it, however, it was kind of plain. The family liked it, but they didn’t love it. So I set myself to the task of figuring out how to rev it up a bit. It needed more texture as well as a punch of flavor. I mulled over the problem for a few days, when suddenly, while driving some kid to some activity, it hit me. BACON!
I love how creamy and pumpkin-y this dish turns out. The sage is a perfect compliment to the buttery sweetness of the pumpkin. And the bacon really provides a shot of flavor and texture to round out the experience. The other great thing about this dish is that it is very filling! All that fiber from the pumpkin and the whole grain pasta will fill your tummy and keep you content for hours!
I have started baking my bacon instead of cooking it in a skillet, and the directions below include that step. You certainly could cook it on the stove top instead, or even microwave it. You can even buy pre-cooked bacon to use if you want to make this super-easy!
Another variation might be to use ham instead of bacon. I haven’t tried that, but it sounds like it would be just as delicious!
- 1 (12 ounce) package whole grain macaroni
- 8 slices center cut bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
- ¾ cup fat-free half & half creamer
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, or to taste (optional)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- While oven is heating, heat water to boiling to cook the pasta. Cook according to package directions until pasta is al dente.
- Place the bacon on a baking sheet (cover with foil first, for easy clean-up) and bake in the oven about 15 minutes, until crispy.
- While the pasta and bacon are cooking, make the pumpkin sauce.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, and creamer. Add in the parmesan cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined.
- Simmer about 5 minutes.
- When the pasta is done, drain and place back in the pot, covering to keep war.
- When the bacon is done, carefully break it into pieces.
- Combine pasta, bacon, and pumpkin sauce. Add optional sriracha sauce, if desired.
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