baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon + ready. set. cook!

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baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon

Sometimes we get to eat at a normal family dinner time. Sometimes we don’t get to eat dinner until 8:30 or 9, even later if our football game is an away game. Either way, we eat dinner together as a family every night. Well, every night besides Saturday. Every Saturday night since Charlie was born is date night.

baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon #simmeredintradition

Busy or not, meal time is the one time every day when the four of us are all in the same place at the same time. It’s not always pleasant; it may contain some whining if the meal is not something everyone loves, but we do it every night.

Pasta is a meal that we all enjoy, which limits the whining, so it makes an appearance on the table at least once a week. Id love to make sauce from scratch all the time, but with carpool and crazy schedules it is not always possible.

baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon #simmeredintradition

Ragu makes sauce in the traditional Italian way, using fresh vine ripened tomatoes fragrant herbs and garlic. With no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no high fructose corn syrup, Ragu is a great choice when homemade cannot happen.

As part of the Ragu Ready. Set Cook! contest, I put a few of our favorite things  – tomatoes, arugula, and bacon, into one delicious and easy to make casserole. It can even be made head of time, and then baked when ready to serve.

baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon

baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon + ready. set. cook!


  • 1 lb penne (or other small shaped pasta)
  • 1 jar of Ragu Roasted garlic Parmesan
  • 8 slices of bacon, cut in small pieces (about 1/2 inch)
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


  • cook pasta according to package instructions, and toss hot pasta with the Ragu sauce
  • in a large skillet cook bacon until crisp, remove the bacon, and set aside
  • toss the tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic
  • add tomatoes to skillet, and cook over medium heat 5 minutes
  • add arugula and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes
  • add bacon and tomatoes to the pasta, and toss to combine
  • pour pasta into a greased casserole dish, top with 1/2 cup panko and 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • place under the broiler until the breadcrumbs and Parmesan turn golden brown - 3 - 5 minutes

Ready. Set. Cook! challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring Ragu and 4 of the following ingredients – 

  • Italian Sausage Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Eggs
  • Feta Cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Arugula
  • Cilantro
  • Pine Nuts
  • Bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Polenta
  • Pasta
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cauliflower
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Avocado

Enter your family favorite recipe here  for a chance to win –

  • Grand prize $3,000
  • Runner-up $1,250
  • People’s Choice: $750

Ready. Set. Cook!

baked pasta with tomatoes, arugula, and bacon


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragu. The opinions and text are all mine.