I love a nice Pasta Carbonara, and was thinking of a lighter way to do it in a casserole for the entire family. The lemon zest in the béchamel sauce gives you a nice fresh flavor without the acid that will cause the sauce to break, and the salty goodness of the bacon (or pancetta if you prefer) helps make the flavors pop in your mouth. This is creamy comfort food without feeling heavy the way an egg makes a carbonara feel in the mouth, and adding the lemon juice and herbs before baking further cuts the cream. It is also easy to do gluten free with some small substitutions that are easy to notice and are noted in the recipe.
Give this one a try for your family tomorrow night, you will all be in Fat Boy Heaven.
Baked Lemon Ziti
I love baked ziti, and this is a way to enjoy a lighter version that will satisfy. A bit like a carbonara, this is a nice blend of lemon freshness and the salty goodness of the bacon mixed with the velvety smoothness of the classic béchamel sauce. Your family will love this one.
pasta, bake, lemon, ziti, italian, home, cooking, recipe, gluten-free
- 1 stick Sweet Cream butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 lb Ziti or other dried pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
- 2 Large lemons
- 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Rosemary and Basil
- Cook bacon until crispy, drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a 6 QT pot, cook pasta until soft but still a little firm to the bite
- In a large sauce pan, add butter and flour.
- Cook butter and flour mixture until butter is melted and there is no dry flour remaining. Should have a slightly nutty flavor but not turning brown.
- Add milk and cook until smooth and thickening, then add 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Continue to cook until cheese is melted into sauce fully. Zest both lemons into sauce and stir thoroughly. We want to get the lemon flavor incorporated without curdling the sauce with lemon juice.
- In a large mixing bowl toss sauce, pasta, bacon, herbs, and juice of 1 lemon
- Pour into 9x13 baking dish.
- Cover with shredded mozzarella, and mixture of bread crumbs and remaining parmesan.
- Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is a crispy brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let set for 5-10 minutes, then serve.
Very easy to make gluten free by using brown rice or quinoa pasta, and your favorite gluten-free flour blend substituting for the flour.The breadcrumbs in the topping can be easily replaced with gluten free cracker meal without losing the effect.