This is my grandmother Bena’s bacon tomato pasta casserole recipe. It is an indulgently gooey take on mac and cheese but add some bacon and tomato sauce and you get the best comfort meal ever.
This recipe has been passed down the generations. My family members all make it and I’m sure future generations will make it, not even knowing who Bena was! It is one of those time-tested, soul-satisfying recipes that, once you’ve eaten it, you just have to make!
Can I make this recipe healthier?
For myself, I don’t see a way to do it. But that’s what makes it comfort food. I feel that most comfort foods are not super healthy, which is partly why they are comforting.
So, if you are looking for a comforting dish, this is the dish for you.
Do I have to use Velveeta cheese?
No! My family does, but you could substitute with cheddar, muenster or others. It’s okay to experiment, peeps!
Do I have to use elbow macaroni?
Nope. Your favorite noodle should work just as well.
I love casseroles! What about you? One of my all time favorites is the lobster casserole because I love seafood with a seacoast passion. Christopher grew up land locked, so he’s more partial to my rice casserole.
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How to make bacon tomato pasta casserole
Get a medium sized casserole dish.
Fill a stockpot halfway with water and salt it with 1 tablespoon of salt. Turn the heat on medium high until it comes to a boil.
Gather the ingredients – large elbow macaroni, uncured bacon, Velveeta cheese, and crushed tomatoes. (B)
Add cane sugar to the tomatoes and stir to combine. (B)
Heat a sauté pan on medium/low heat and cook the bacon for 10 minutes, flipping it every few minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and blot the grease. Chop bacon to smallish pieces. (C) Transfer bacon to the sweetened tomatoes and stir to combine.
Cut the Velveeta cheese in slices. (D)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add elbows to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Layer tomato mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish and add a few spoonfuls of elbows. (E)
Spoon some tomato/bacon mixture on the elbows. Be generous. (F)
Place cheese slices on the sauce. (G)
Continue layering until you run out of pasta. (three or four layers). So, pasta, sauce, cheese. Repeat. (H)
Pour in some milk (I used almond milk) until you can see it reach halfway up the side of the casserole dish. (I)
Cover the casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Once the timer dings, take the cover off and continue to bake it for another 30 minutes.
Look at all that cheese. I love the crispy bits. My sister does not.
Now, it’s time to spoon the bacon tomato casserole out and serve it to my adoring fan: Christopher. 🙂
I hope you enjoy making this bacon tomato pasta recipe as much as we enjoy EATING it.
What is your favorite casserole? Leave me a comment as I’d love to know.
And as always, may all your dishes be delish!
If you’ve tried this Bacon Tomato Pasta recipe, I’d love the know what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!
Bacon Tomato Pasta Casserole
- 2/3 pound elbow macaroni
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar (heaping – my family loves 2 tablespoons – but I only put in 1)
- 10 slices bacon (sautéed and chopped)
- 1 pound Velveeta cheese (sliced and tear as you layer it in)
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk)
- Fill a large sauce pan 3/4 with water, add salt and bring it to a boil
- Sauté bacon until crispy (around 10 minutes) remove from pan, blot with paper towel and cut in chunks,
- Open can of tomatoes and add sugar and bacon and stir to combine. You may have to transfer it to a mixing bowl to fit all the bacon. I just keep it in the can
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- The water should have come to a boil. Add elbows and cook for 10 minutes. It’s okay for it to be al dente. Drain and run cold water over them to stop from cooking further
- Put a layer of tomato sauce on bottom of medium casserole dish
- Add a layer of elbows
- Ladle tomato sauce over elbows
- Layer the cheese and tear it apart as you put it on top of sauce layer
- Repeat layering, you will have at least 4 layers ending with cheese
- Pour milk in until you can see it 1/2 way up the casserole dish
- Bake covered for 30 minutes
- Uncover and bake for additional 30 minutes