Bacon & Mushroom Pasta in Cream Sauce

It’s summer and I really can’t be bothered to thaw meat some days.  Do you ever feel like that’s too much trouble?  I have too many other summery things to do… like take a nap.  Ha!  On days like that, it’s salad for dinner or a (mostly) meatless dish like this one.  If you love mushrooms, you will love this pasta.  It’s chock full of meaty baby portabellas, but perfectly balanced with a little bacon in a creamy sauce.  After making this a couple times, it hit me that the perfect finisher for this would be some finely diced green onions.  So, if you have those in the fridge, throw those on top at the end and finish it with some extra crisp bacon and shredded parm.  Perfection! ~Erin

6 slices center-cut bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces (plus more for serving if desired)

1 lb. uncooked whole wheat linguine

¼ c. reserved pasta water

1 lb. uncooked baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 T. minced garlic

1 T. olive or avocado oil

2 T. all-purpose flour

1 ½ c. fat-free half-and-half

Shredded parmesan and extra cooked bacon, optional – for garnish

Chopped green onions, optional – for garnish

 

Cook the linguine in salted water, according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water before draining. Meanwhile, in a large, high-sided skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Set aside. Carefully clean out remaining bacon grease with paper towels. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms and stir and cook until mushrooms are fork-tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Stir in the flour and stir and cook until no white flour is visible and mushrooms are sizzling – about a minute. Add the bacon back to the skillet. Stir in the fat-free half-and-half and pasta water; bring to a simmer.  Simmer and stir until it starts to thicken – about 3 or 4 minutes.  The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.  Add the cooked pasta into the mushroom sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with extra bacon and parmesan if desired (will add to points on WW).

WW info:  This recipe makes 8 1 ½-cup servings.  Green plan – 8 points; Blue plan – 8 points; Purple plan – 3 points

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