One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

Sometimes when thrown together dinners result in happy successes, I squeal. Loudly. And kind of jump around in my chair waving a somewhat dangerous fork in the air. It’s been known to scare the children. You’d think they’d be prepared, but since it isn’t exactly an every day occurrence (I’ve had a ton of dinner failures lately, sob, which means no happy squealing, no squealing at all), they are often caught unprepared and look at me like I’m half-crazy after launching out of their seats in frightened awareness and often dropping a utensil or three. Poor kids. The things they have to put up with.

Such was the case with this creamy one pot wonder. Spring means asparagus season which means I’m the luckiest girl in the world since I love asparagus more than the average human being. I had a bag languishing in my fridge needing to be used, and since we had already devoured roasted asparagus three nights in a row, I repurposed it into this delicious, quick pasta dish. Although I love the green veggie and bacon and creamy pasta, I didn’t have high hopes for the dish in general because I literally was throwing it together without a thought for quantity or control in an attempt to get dinner on the table for two hungry boys headed off to wrestling practice.

One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

And. It turned out amazing. Enough so (and because I didn’t write anything down the 1st time), after an appropriate squealing session, I made it again twice more to get the proportions and timing and ingredients just right, since I have a feeling it wouldn’t be very popular to publish a recipe on here that said, in effect, throw a bunch of stuff in a skillet, turn the heat to medium, say a prayer and hope for the best. Which is basically what happened the first go-round.

This long story is to let you know that this one pot (or one skillet) creamy asparagus and bacon pasta is the dinner dreams are made of. It’s fast. It’s crazy yummy. And it’s creamy without being too decadent for a Tuesday night dinner. Basically, it’s pretty much perfect.

One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

What To ServeFresh, seasonal fruit or this Honey Lime Fruit Salad
Green salad (here’s a gourmet version if you’re looking for something fancy but still simple and delish)

One Year Ago: Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Topping
Two Years Ago: Cowboy Spaghetti
Three Years Ago: Meatball Soup with Pasta

One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

Yield: Serves 6

One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

Different brands of penne pasta will vary in this recipe. The cooking times given in the recipe are for penne pasta that has a package cook time of 11-12 minutes (for al dente). You'll want to adjust accordingly for pasta with shorter or longer cook times (reduce the broth by 1/2 cup to 1 cup if using pasta that has a 7-8 minute cooking time, adding additional broth at the end, if needed).

This makes a fairly saucy pasta as that is our preference; if you want slightly less sauce, consider adding only 3 1/2 cups broth and adding more at the end, if needed. The sauce will thicken even more as the pasta rests.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups milk, divided (meaning you'll use 2 cups at first and 1 cup later in the recipe)
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet or in a large pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and drain all but a teaspoon of the bacon grease. Over medium heat, add the mushrooms and season lightly with salt and pepper; cook until the mushrooms are browned and the liquid is mostly evaporated, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the same plate as bacon.
  2. To the skillet or pot, add the broth, 2 cups of the milk, the pasta, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer and cook for about 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally and moderating the heat so the mixture simmers but doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the asparagus and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the asparagus is tender and the pasta is al dente but still slightly firm (it will cook for a few more minutes later). There will be some liquid left; that's ok as it will help make the creamy sauce in the next step.
  3. In a blender, process the remaining 1 cup milk, cream cheese and flour until very smooth. Gradually add it to the skillet or pot while stirring quickly to combine. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove the skillet or pot from the heat. Stir in the bacon and mushrooms, reserving a bit of the bacon to sprinkle on top, if desired. Stir in the Parmesan cheese or sprinkle it on top, also.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/one-pot-creamy-asparagus-and-bacon-pasta/

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

37 Responses to One Pot Creamy Asparagus and Bacon Pasta

  1. Julie says:

    I have asparagus in my fridge that needs to be used up! What a perfect thing to try for dinner. And seriously, everything tastes better with bacon! Thanks Mel! You just made my Monday!

  2. Megan says:

    You know why I am soooo happy about this? Because I created Avery similar recipe the other night (but used green beans, cauliflower and broccoli and Italian sausage) and it was SO good, my boys didn’t even complain (gasp) and…I didn’t write down the recipe. So I was planning on the throw in skillet/say a prayer method. But now I don’t have to!! Thank you!

  3. Paige says:

    This looks amazing! I love asparagus but never think to incorporate it into dishes like this! We’ll definitely have to give this a try soon!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  4. SVF says:

    By some miracle, I have everything for this in my fridge. You’ve bumped your own Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches until later in the week. But I wonder if I could save myself the step of blending the milk, flour, and cream cheese in the blender, and just make a slurry with the milk and flour and melt the cream cheese into the hot sauce? I hate pulling out the blender, and creating extra dishes.

    • Mel says:

      Definitely worth a try! I agree about not creating extra dishes. I tend to always blend my flour slurries just because I hate lumps (and apparently don’t whisk fast enough).

      • SVF says:

        The slurry and melt method worked out just fine. It takes just a second to bring the sauce back up to a boil, and a minute or so to thicken after that. Then I added the cream cheese and parm, stirred it all ’till it was melty and delicious, and YUM! I used whipped cream cheese because that’s what I had, the results may vary with other types.

      • Megan says:

        I just used my immersion blender in the measuring cup I used at the beginning of the recipe. Easy, and not much in the way of extra dishes. Just an idea!

  5. Kim says:

    The only way my mom could get me to come home from the park when I was little was to promise me asparagus for dinner. It is the best vegetable! I still love it as much now as I did then. Keep the asparagus recipes coming!

  6. Kristen says:

    I made this tonight and it was a hit with my husband & I and our 5 kids. I did add a finely diced jalapeno pepper to the sauteing mushrooms and I think it added just a little extra flavor without adding heat. Thank you Mel for coming to the rescue once again.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! Even my two (very very picky) kids ate some. That’s a small miracle! Thank you!!

  8. Megan says:

    We just finished having this for dinner, and it was seriously amazing! Best meal I’ve made in quite sometime. With just my husband, myself, and two kids 3 and under, we almost finished the entire pot! Thanks for this one (and all the others!).

  9. Jessica says:

    This is going to be a regular for us. It was really good!

  10. Danica says:

    We are a non-mushroom loving family, but I hate to leave out texture and flavor! Is there anything you think would be delicious to sub with the mushrooms? Also is the Parmesan the canned stuff or fresh?

    • Mel says:

      I use freshly grated Parmesan; as for the mushrooms, I’m not sure anything will give you quite the same texture and flavor. You could try adding cooked chicken or even another vegetable (or just leave them out).

  11. Mitch says:

    I love pasta so much but never try to add asparagus and bacon together in it. What a new dinner menu tonight! Thanks for sharing this!

  12. I loved this dish! Made it yesterday but used some salted butter and garlic. I also used farfalle pasta which I love with creamy pasta recipes and it turned out excellent. This dish is so versatile – it reheats well so it made for delicious leftovers today. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Helen says:

    I am in the “throws” (literally) of moving, so trying this is a few days on the horizon. But I have every confidence that it will be AMAZING!!! Anything containing the words ‘asparagus’ and ‘bacon’ is a sure fire win!!

  14. ErikaT says:

    Making this tonight since I was in a bind as to what to cook tonight, I just so happen to have all these things. Though I think I’ll add in shredded chicken, meat it up a bit 😉

  15. Launi says:

    I made this for dinner tonight because I had some asparagus that needed to get used up as well, and it was really delicious! Although, I did feel like there was WAY too much sauce. We like it saucy, but this was seriously almost soup. I had to siphon off almost 2 cups at the end and it was still plenty saucy. I followed the recipe to a T except I didn’t include mushrooms since we aren’t big fans around here. Do you think that could be what made the difference? Do the mushrooms soak up a lot of liquid? Either way it was awesome and I will be making it again. I will just probably decrease the liquid by quite a bit. 😉 Thanks Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Launi, what brand of pasta did you use? That may make a difference (I included some tips in the notes above the recipe). The mushrooms may absorb a little liquid but it shouldn’t make a difference of several cups.

      • Launi says:

        It was DaVinci brand penne, and it said 9-10 minutes cooking time. I tried to adjust the time accordingly but didn’t use any less liquid. Also, I don’t have a scale, so I just tried to eyeball 12 oz of pasta from my 16 oz package. So now that I think about it, I may not have added enough! No worries, I’m willing to work out the kinks since the end result is so tasty! 🙂 Thanks!

  16. Nancy E says:

    It was delicious! 5/6 of the family liked it. The 4 year old has decided she doesn’t like noodles so she wouldn’t even try it. Husband was super happy and grateful for the leftovers!

  17. Meredith says:

    I made this tonight and it was delish! I even managed to sneak in some frozen peas and a couple handfuls of chopped “power greens” without any complaints from the natives. Thanks for a great recipe!

  18. Jocy says:

    Thanks for this delicious one pot dinner! Thanks for the tip on pasta cooking time and how to adjust the liquid, my penne was al dente in 5 minutes! A winner

  19. LeAnne says:

    Do you think it would matter if I used turkey bacon and baked it?

  20. Melissa Styler says:

    I despise mushrooms and felt foolish for even pretending I’d like this recipe as I chopped them up (I thought they be less obvious chopped versus sliced). Guess what? My whole family loved this recipe, mushrooms included. Thank you!

  21. Ari says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious. I subbed in diced pancetta because i was out of bacon and it was very good! Thanks for the great recipe.

  22. Rebecca says:

    I am wondering if it is a “must” to use the flour….was thinking of trying to make this GF with GF pasta and a sub for the flour. Do you think corn starch might work? Thanks for any insight you might have:).

    • Mel says:

      The flour helps thicken but you could try cornstarch as a substitute (or maybe a gluten-free flour) and see how it works – I haven’t tried it so I can’t say how it will turn out exactly.

  23. Anne says:

    I made this tonight and all 4 of my children agree that they like asparagus now! So this was a definite success. To help those who had questions- I baked my bacon and used turkey bacon. Also, I used a combo of pasta but probably added a little more than 12 oz out of my 16 oz box, and it was not soupy. I also added 1/2 cup of cream and 2 and 1/2 cups of milk. The sauce was just perfectly creamy. One last thing, for all the mushroom haters like me, I omitted them and we didn’t miss them. Thank for another simple, healthy and adaptable meal!

  24. Stephanie W says:

    Oh man this was super yummy! Even my picky eaters liked it. I added a little splash of lemon juice at the end to cut some of the richness. Mel to the dinnertime rescue again!

  25. I can not believe how yummy this is! I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pot! Thank you so much – I look forward to eating this all hours – amazing!

  26. Bryan says:

    I adore every ingredient in this recipe. Have made it already a few times and have to say that it is undeniably good. Had it done with whole wheat pasta as well as verde. All turned out awesome. I make it with Portobello, Porcino and Chanterelle mix. Love every bite. A side salad of cherry tomatos, steamed curly kale and artichokes hearts with aceto balsamico complements nicely into a full meal.

  27. Amanda says:

    This was delicious!!! I don’t love mushrooms, so I added lots just to my husband’s portion, but I love that it all cooks in one pan and tastes amazing! Thanks for another great recipe to add to my rotation.

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