A simple and easy alfredo pasta bake is just what you need. Bubbly cheese on the outside, creamy on the inside, and ready in just 25 minutes.
We enjoy this recipe often and it’s not hard to see why. From the mountain of cheese to the perfectly cooked pasta, this dish is as comforting as it is delicious. From start to finish it takes less than 30 minutes to whip it up and get it on the table so it’s perfect for those busy nights when you want something fast.
Alfredo Pasta Bake Ingredients
- Penne pasta
- Bacon strips
- Minced garlic
- Half and half
- Heavy cream
- Finely grated parmesan cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fresh parsley
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Cheesy Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
- In a large pot of water, boil your pasta until it is just shy of becoming al dente. While it is cooking, prepare your sauce in another pan.
- In a large skillet, cook your bacon over medium-low heat until it is slightly chewy. Remove from the pan. The bacon will crisp up in later steps.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pan.
- Add in your leek, and cook for 2 minutes until softened.
- Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Now add in the half and half and the heavy cream, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese until melted and combined.
- Add in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the pasta. Smooth out the top of the pasta so that it is an even layer.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta.
- Roughly chop up the bacon and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cheese.
- Place your skillet on the middle rack in your preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese has become golden brown and bubbly.
- Sprinkle your baked pasta with fresh parsley for garnish and serve warm.
Substitutions for Baked Penne Pasta
- Pancetta can be substituted for bacon, cook it according to recipe directions as you would the bacon.
- If desired you can use no-boil pasta instead of the regular kind to make this a one-pot dish. Magical, delicious, and less messy too!
Recipe Tips for Alfredo Pasta Bake
- I recommend purchasing quality cheese and grating it yourself. I find that it melts much better, sometimes pre-grated cheese becomes clumpy and doesn’t melt properly. But if that’s all you have on hand, give it a go! Since you’re baking it, even if there are clumps it should melt more fully in the oven.
- The oven temp is high so that we can warm the dish and melt the cheese at a faster speed. It also gives you a nice bubbly crust with a creamy pasta center.
- I use a leek in this recipe, and if you’re unsure where to purchase one, most grocery stores carry them. Half of a regular onion or shallot can be substituted but I LOVE the flavor of leek in this recipe. Leeks are similar to onions but have a slight anise (licorice) flavor.
Easy Pasta Bake Variations
A reader was kind enough to offer their variation of the dish, which we just HAD to share. It sounds so delicious. Omit the leeks, use shallots, onions, and leftover ham (like Easter ham). This could be a great way to use up holiday leftovers and it shows just how versatile this easy pasta bake really is!
How to Clean and Use Leeks
Leeks grow in layers that trap the sandy soil they grow in easily. Because of this, there is a special method to cleaning them.
- Chop the leeks (you only use the white and light green parts).
- Fill up a bowl with warm water.
- Place the chopped leeks in the bowl of water.
- Let sit for 5 minutes.
- The leeks will float and the sand will sink to the bottom.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the leeks.
- Dry and use as directed.
This baked penne pasta is one of my favorite weeknight meals. We don’t need a lot of dishes, pots, or pans to bring it together. Everything is made in the same skillet (with exception of the pasta) and it’s pretty versatile because it almost always works with any cheeses you may have on hand.
Yes, you can prepare the pasta and sauce up to two days in advance and place it in a covered casserole dish in the fridge. Place it on the counter to rest as the oven preheats before baking so that the dish has time to warm up to room temp. This can help to prevent the casserole dish from breaking as a result of going from a cold fridge to a hot oven too quickly.
You can keep your pasta leftovers stored in the fridge in a covered or airtight container for up to 3-5 days. I recommend eating it sooner rather than later because the pasta may become dried out as it ages.
Yes. While we love this pasta bake with penne, but you can use any short, tubular pasta in this recipe.
Cheesy Alfredo Pasta Bake Recipe
- 1 pound pasta cooked just shy of al dente
- 4 strips bacon or pancetta, see note
- 1 leek minced fine (see note)
- 2 cloves garlic minced fine
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- Pinch nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Boil pasta until just shy of al dente. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce.
- In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium low heat until it is slightly chewy. Remove from pan. It will crisp up when the pasta bake goes into the oven.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons grease from pan.
- Add leek and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add half and half and cream, bring to a simmer.
- Add parmesan and ricotta, stir until melted and combined.
- Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in pasta and smooth out the top surface.
- Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of the pasta.
- Roughly chop bacon and sprinkle evenly over the mozzarella.
- Place on middle rack in a preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Looking for more easy pasta recipes?
- Slow Cooker Marinara
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Sausage Pasta Bake
- Quick Alfredo Pasta Recipe
- Homemade Chicken Alfredo Recipe
- Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
- Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Pasta Primavera
- Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Instant Pot Marinara