Have you ever wondered what a cross between carbonara and mac ‘n’ cheese might taste like? No? Well, neither had I and yet somehow that’s just what the bacon brie spaghetti my husband and I ended up creating for our late May Bank Holiday Monday dinner tastes like. Ben decided to take lead on this meal, and after a full-on weekend of cooking I was more than happy to take a step back. We had some Arla Lactofree brie and an open packet of bacon in the fridge that needed using up, and a strong craving for pasta. The rest, as they say, is history.
This was very much one of those “throw whatever you have into a pan and see how it turns out” kind of meals. But boy did it work. Ben started by chopping the bacon up into small pieces and crisping them up in a frying pan. Meanwhile, I minced several cloves of garlic and readied ingredients for the next steps.
After the bacon was nice and crispy, Ben removed it from the pan and got a nice roux going with the rendered bacon fat, some dairy-free spread, and the garlic. It might sound weird, but over the years I’ve learned that minced garlic added to a dairy- or lactose-free sauce really ups the “cheese” flavor. As someone who adores a strong, sharp cheese, a lot of dairy- and lactose-free cheeses just don’t stack up flavor-wise. Which is why we had so much brie to use up – normally it’d be gone in an evening! But if you’re using a more pungent cheese, feel free to omit the garlic.
Once the garlic was golden brown and smelling nice (Garlic! Butter! Bacon! What’s not to love?), in went some flour to be whisked into a smooth paste. Then we added a decent amount of oat milk to thin it all out, whisking more to get rid of any clumps. Finally it was time to add the brie! As it’s such a smooth and creamy cheese, it melted in beautifully. We added some more milk at this point too.
While the cheese sauce cooked down, it was time to get the spaghetti going. This is the kind of sauce you want to finish your pasta off in, so we under-cooked the spaghetti by a few minutes before adding it to the sauce. Don’t forget to save a mug-full of your pasta water before draining! This starchy, salty water is so helpful for thinning your sauce without losing its creaminess.
When our pasta reached not-quite-al-dente, we tossed it in along with the bacon and some frozen peas. This beige meal was really crying out for a bit of greenery! Peas & bacon is such a classic combo, I knew we couldn’t go wrong. They added a nice bit of freshness, perfectly balancing out the richness of the cheese sauce.
At this point, we added most of the saved pasta water. The sauce needed thinning and the pasta needed a bit more liquid to finish cooking. About 2 minutes gently tossing everything with tongs, and you’ll see it all come together!
From start to finish, the meal only took about 20 minutes to make. And we spent the rest of the evening in a very happy food coma! Creamy, cheesy, salty – this bacon brie spaghetti was the perfect indulgent end to a lovely bank holiday weekend.
Easy & Indulgent Bacon Brie Spaghetti
- Frying Pan
- Medium Pot
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 2-4 pieces bacon
- 2 tbsp dairy-free spread
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 500 ml dairy free milk
- 100 g Arla Lactofree brie
- 150 g spaghetti
- 150 g frozen peas
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat frying pan and your choice of cooking oil on medium. Cut bacon into small pieces and add to hot frying pan. Fry bacon til crispy then remove from pan, leaving rendered fat in pan, and set aside.
- Add dairy-free spread to oil in pan and wait for it to melt. Sprinkle flour over melted oil and whisk together. It should make a thick paste without any clumps. If it's a bit dry just add more oil and whisk together some more.
- When the roux is nicely golden, slowly pour the milk in while continuing to whisk. Keep whisking until they come together and there are no clumps.
- Chop brie into small chunks and add to sauce. Slowly stir to melt the brie into the sauce. Turn heat to low and let sauce cook down, stirring occasionally. Add more milk occasionally if your sauce has thickened more than you want.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil then add spaghetti. Cook a few minutes shy of the directions, about 5-6 minutes. Use a mug to save some pasta water, then drain spaghetti and add directly to the cheese sauce. Toss together with tongs.
- Add peas and bacon, along with a bit of pasta water if the sauce needs loosened. Toss gently until everything is mixed completely, the peas are hot, and the pasta is cooked through (roughly 2-3 more minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.
- Dish up into two large pasta bowls, crack some more black pepper onto pasta, and sprinkle with some chopped parsley if you're feeling fancy.