Sourdough, Mushroom and Bacon Pasta Bake
Some days nothing can beat a giant portion of cheesy pasta bake with garlic bread (or side salad if you want a touch of healthiness).
Sourdough, mushroom and bacon pasta bake is one of those dishes that always get polished off and isn’t usually the type of dish to have any leftovers. And, like many of my recipes, this one is incredibly versatile and you can add as many, or as little vegetables or meats as you wish.
If I have any vegetables that, perhaps, have seen better days then I will chuck them in the pasta bake, it is an incredibly useful dish. I have made this recipe even more useful by adding a sourdough crumb. Not only does this intensify that crispy cheesy layer on top but it also helps you revive that stale bread that kept inching closer to the bin.
In this post:
Sourdough, Mushroom and Bacon Pasta Bake (extended)
What to eat with pasta bake?
A whole load of opportunity awaits. You can have a side salad if you want to give your meal a little more of a healthy touch. You can also make some roast vegetables to go with it. But if you want to double down on the carbs then garlic bread can make a great addition to the dish.
What pasta to use for pasta bake?
This sourdough, mushroom and bacon pasta bake can be made with any pasta, long or short. Just go with your heart on this one and use your favourite pasta or switch it up every time.
Pasta that works well include:
Short pastas– fusilli, penne, macaroni, rigatoni
Long pastas–spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, tagliatelle
Traditionally, pasta bakes are made with short pastas but you can try experimenting with long pastas such as spaghetti to switch things up a bit. You can also make this with a mixture of pastas although I would advise that you use pastas that have the same cooking time so that you don’t have some pasta that is overcooked and some undercooked.
This pasta bake is a recipe that can be changed and tweaked to fit your preference. You can use long pasta, short pasta, cooked meat or raw. You can even use tinned fish or any type of vegetable whether frozen, tinned or raw. You are only limited by your imagination!
The sourdough, mushroom and bacon pasta bake has a tomato-based sauce which can go with so many flavour combinations. It’s also a great way to use up any little bits in your fridge or cupboard that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Got some random bits of ham, cooked meats, any vegetable that are just a little lifeless? Chuck them in the pasta bake to give them all a new lease on life.
This pasta bake is pretty saucy so there is quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to the amount of extras that you want to put in.
Adding roasted vegetables can also make for an extra level of flavour. It really works well for vegetables such as bell peppers, sweet potato, aubergine and courgettes:
Chop your vegetables into about 2 cm cubed pieces and then place on a large baking tray.
Drizzle with oil and add salt, pepper and any extra spices that you want to add.
Roast for 20 minutes at 220C/200C fan. Stir your vegetables at the halfway point. Add to your pasta bake at the assembling stage.
Here are a couple of other ideas if you want to change this recipe up a bit
Chicken, bacon and sweetcorn— you can replace the mushrooms in this recipe with corn and then add about 100g of cooked chicken (or however much you have lying around.
Pesto bacon and mozzarella— add 2 tbsp of pesto to this recipe and replace the cheddar with mozzarella.
Italian Beef and spinach – Replace the bacon in this recipe with 200g or beef mince or and replace the chestnut mushrooms in this recipe with either fresh or frozen spinach.
Sausage and kale – change out the bacon for 4-6 sausages (depending on how hungry you are) and replace the mushrooms with kale.
Tuscan vegetable – swap out the brown onion with a red onion and then remove the bacon from the recipe. Also add in some chopped bell peppers— any colour you wish. When frying you can also add 2 tsp of smoked paprika and chilli flakes.
Tuna and olive– remove the bacon from this recipe and replace it with a tin of drained tuna. Also replace the mushrooms with some chopped olives.
Tips for the ultimate pasta bake
Undercook your pasta by about 2 minutes because it will continue to cook in the oven—no-one wants mushy pasta and it also reheats better this way.
If you want a slightly richer sauce then you can add a dash (about 100ml) of red wine when you add the chopped tomatoes
If you have any leftover roast meat or just want to add some extra protein like chicken then go for it! It won't change the quality of the bake.
Try not to overbake the pasta bake because it can make it a bit too dry
Let it relax— let your pasta bake rest for 5-10 minutes before serving up.
Can I freeze the Sourdough, Mushroom and Bacon Pasta Bake?
This pasta bake freezes really well and can be frozen for a month. Just let it cool then wrap the dish with cling film before placing in the freezer. If you just want to freeze a portion or leftovers then you can just place it in an airtight container instead.
When you want to eat your frozen pasta bake just allow it to defrost for a few hours in the fridge before putting in a low oven (around 160C/140C fan) until it is piping hot all the way through. If it starts to brown too much on top the you can place a layer of foil over the pasta bake.
This pasta bake also keeps really well in the fridge for about 4 days. Its extra saucy so it won't suffer by being reheated in the oven.
Sourdough, Mushroom and Bacon Pasta Bake
1 Brown onion
2 Garlic cloves
3 Rashers of Bacon, chopped
2 tbsp Tomato paste
1 tin (~400g) of Chopped tomatoes
85g Chestnut mushrooms
1 Stock cube
85g Cheddar cheese, grated
350g Pasta (your favourite shape)
50g Stale bread
Boiling the pasta
Bring a pan of well salted water up to the boil on a medium-low heat. Add your pasta and boil for 2 minutes less than the manufacturer's instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
Making the sauce
You can make the pasta sauce while the pasta is boiling. Finely chop the onion and then place a frying pan on a medium heat. Add about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to the pan and, once hot, add the onion. Crush the garlic and add to the pan. Fry the onions until softened (around 2 minutes) and then add the bacon. Turn the heat to high. Brown off the bacon and then turn the heat to low.
Stir in the mushrooms and tomato paste and then add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Re-fill the tin with water and add this to the sauce. Add the stock cube and then simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a third of the cheese— you don't need to do this stage; you can save all the cheese for the top instead but I think it adds an extra richness to the pasta bake.
Assembling the pasta bake
Once all components are ready, it's time to assemble. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan. Pour the pasta into a deep, 7x9 inch dish. Pour the sauce over the top and then give it all a good stir to fully coat the pasta in sauce.
Tear apart your bread into random pieces and sprinkle them over the top of the pasta. Top with the rest of the grated cheese.
Baking the pasta bake
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and deliciously golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before digging in!