“Bacon” & Cheese Pasta Bake

Penne pasta, in a smokey “bacon” and rich cheese sauce, oven baked to perfection. My omnivorous partner, who purports to dislike vegan cheese, went back for seconds when I made this. That says it all really, doesn’t it.

Yield; Four servings(586kcal per serving) Cook time; 45 minutes

You’ll need;

  1. 115g/4oz meat free “bacon”
  2. 40g/1.5oz non-dairy margarine
  3. 40g/1.5oz plain flour
  4. 500ml warm non-dairy unsweetened milk
  5. 200g/7oz non-dairy cheese
  6. One teaspoon of both smoked paprika and dijon mustard
  7. 250g/9oz (dry weight) pasta
  8. Three tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Method;

  • Firstly, cook the bacon as per the instructions on the packet. You may need to do this in two batches. Once cooked, chop into small pieces and set aside
  • Next work on the sauce. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, add the non-dairy margarine. Once melted, add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue whisking for three or four minutes
  • Then add the milk, a little at a time, until it’s all incorporated. At this point you can switch to using a wooden spoon, then add the cheese, smoked paprika and mustard.
  • Once the cheese is melted, and the sauce is silky smooth, set aside. Then cook the pasta, as per the instructions on the packet, minus a couple of minutes. You want to slightly undercook it, as it’ll continue cooking when it’s in the oven
  • Drain the pasta before mixing the sauce through it. Add the bacon pieces, then give it another good mix. Tip the pasta into an ovenproof dish and evenly scatter over the breadcrumbs
  • Bake in the oven, at 220ºC/200ºC fan assisted/400ºF until the top is golden brown. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving. Alternatively, if you wish to burn your dinner guests, serve straight away

Tips;

  1. The cheese I used for this, was the Mature Style Free From alternative, it’s from ASDA. But you can use any dairy-free cheese you like, just make sure it melts
  2. The “bacon” I used for this, was the Vbites maple style bacon. You can buy it from Holland and Barrett, or online from Ocado
  3. The non-dairy milk I used, was the Alpro soya light. You can buy this in most supermarkets.

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