Food and drink

My bacon, mushroom and Tenderstem® cheesy pasta bake

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Tenderstem® asking me whether I’d be interested in coming up with an interesting recipe idea. Tenderstem® is basically broccoli crossed with Chinese kale. It’s sweeter than traditional broccoli and, as you’ve probably guessed, the stems are much softer so you can eat it whole rather than chop them off.

At first I was doubtful whether to take them up on the offer because, I’ll be honest, I’m not a great cook but I thought I might as well give it a go and try doing something new. I didn’t have anything to lose! After a long think I came up with a cheesy pasta bake with Tenderstem® and bacon and my mum suggested that I add some mushrooms too.

To make my cheesy pasta bake you’ll need:

  • One jar of cheesy pasta bake sauce (I used Homepride but there are others available)
  • 200g pasta
  • 200g bacon lardons
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 220g Tenderstem® broccoli
  • 150g grated cheese

If you follow the recipe and use the exact ingredients then the pasta bake should serve four people. Like I say, I’m not a great cook, so I tried to keep my recipe as simple as possible.

  1. Firstly I boiled the Tenderstem® for six minutes and fried the bacon lardons and mushrooms until the bacon crisped up. Then I drained the Tenderstem® and used some kitchen roll to soak some of the fat from the bacon lardons and mushrooms.
  2. Next I weighed out 200g of pasta and put it into a large rectangular oven dish. Then I followed the instructions on the jar which basically involved mixing the cheesy sauce with half a jar of water and a splash of milk.
  3. Then I mixed the cheesy mixture, pasta, bacon lardons, mushrooms and Tenderstem® together and spread it out evenly. I put it in the oven at 170°C for 20 minutes. I’ve got a fan oven so if yours isn’t then set it at 190°C instead.
  4. After 20 minutes I took the pasta out of the oven, gave it a stir and added grated cheese all over the top and then I put it back in the oven for 25 minutes.

cheesy pasta bake 2 (1)

When I took it out of the oven it looked bubbly and delicious. When I first had the idea for the pasta bake I honestly didn’t know how it was going to turn out. My family had even joked that they might be in neighbouring hospital beds if I gave everyone food poisoning, but it was genuinely so tasty. I’ve already insisted that I’m going to make it again!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Tenderstem® for giving me this opportunity and encouraging me to step outside my normal blogging bubble. It’s been great to try something different! If you’d like to try some other recipes with Tenderstem® then you can find loads more on their recipe page. I’ve got my eye on the pork meatball and roast squash one-pan bake!

Let me know what you think of my recipe and let me know if you’d like to try it yourself. Have you tried Tenderstem® before? If not, has my cheesy pasta bake tempted you to give it a go?

Tenderstem® gifted me a voucher to purchase the ingredients for my pasta bake in exchange for this post.

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  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Loved this recipe Sophie!! Pasta bakes are so easy to make they are a good fail safe/standby to have just in case!! I personally love broccoli so this would be perf for me although i’d have to leave out the mushrooms – sorry! >.<
    Great Post, i'd love it if you posted about trying that meatball recipe, that DOES sound delicious!!

    • Reply
      Sophie Wright
      June 18, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      It would still be just as delicious without the mushrooms, I wasn’t going to put them in originally. Let me know if you try the recipe yourself!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Ooohh yum this looks amazing! My girlfriend is allergic to mushrooms and I miss them A LOT, although, to be fair, I have coeliac disease and I’m sure she misses proper bread. 😉

    This is great though, so often I just make a pasta bake and forget to have veggies with it. Definitely need to throw some in more often and brocoli and cheese is such a classic, amazing combo.

    • Reply
      Sophie Wright
      June 18, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      You could leave the mushrooms out if you wanted to. I never thought to add the mushrooms, it was my mum who made the suggestion, so it would still be just as tasty without them. You should definitely try it, it’s so yummy! Thanks for reading!

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