A quick version of creamy garlic pasta that's made with crispy bacon and mushrooms. It's packed with so much flavor, requires minimal preparation, and is highly adaptable. The best part? You can make this in 20 minutes all in ONE POT–big time saver and easier clean-up.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Bacon and Mushroom
This recipe is for all the pasta lovers out there! I promise everyone in your family will love this, even the picky eaters.
What I love most about this recipe is the creamy sauce–garlicky and absolutely flavorful. The secret? Lots of garlic, bacon, and mushroom! Three simple ingredients can make any pasta recipe stand out.
What you need for this Creamy Garlic Pasta
Really simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry:
- Cream and milk - As this is a one-pot recipe, we'll be needing as much liquid to cook the pasta. I recommend using heavy cream for a lovely creamy texture and full cream milk (low-fat should also work). Half and half can also be used as a substitute for these two.
- Garlic - Always use freshly chopped garlic when making creamy garlic sauce from scratch. They taste amazing and give any sauce a clean and fresh garlic flavor.
- Bacon - use streaky bacon for a richer sauce or back bacon if you prefer a smoky flavor with lesser fat.
- Butter - Compared to a regular alfredo sauce, this recipe uses way less butter partly because we already have enough fat rendered from the bacon.
- Fresh Mushroom - You can use white or brown button mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, or portobello mushrooms.
- Parmesan cheese - Use freshly grated parmesan as much as possible.
- Chicken Broth/Stock - you can also use 1 pc chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water.
- Oregano - or similar dried mixed herbs like Italian seasoning, Herbes de Provence, dried parsley, etc.
- Fresh Parsely or Fresh scallions (green onion leaves) - to
Didn't I say decadent and ultra-luxurious? 🙂
Types of pasta
Good quality pasta always works well in any recipe. Here I used penne pasta but you can also use any of these:
- shell pasta (conchigliette)
- bow tie (farfalle)
- other tube pasta - rigatoni, or ziti.
Note that cooking time may vary depending on the type of pasta you're going to use.
How to Make It
And here's how to make a one-pot creamy garlic pasta in 20 minutes:
1. Cook the Bacon
Before anything else, cook the bacon until crispy and brown. This step will help render the fat that we need to make a flavorful creamy pasta sauce. Use a non-stick pan or skillet if you prefer a whiter pasta sauce i.e. prevents the bacon from making too much residue.
2. Brown the Garlic
Add the garlic and cook until lightly brown (NOT BURNT) over medium-low heat. It is the TOASTED GARLIC FLAVOR we are looking for. That's what makes the sauce so delicious.
3. Add the mushrooms
Add the mushrooms together with the butter and cook until softened. It doesn't have to be fully cooked.
4. Pour the broth and milk
Add the chicken broth and milk and bring it to a simmer. We don't need to add the cream yet at this point. If you add the cream this early, you might end up with a gluey sauce.
5. Add Pasta
Add the pasta and give it a quick stir. Cover with a lid to prevent the liquid from evaporating too quickly. This can happen if you're using a wide skillet or pan.
6. Cook the pasta
Cook the pasta for 9 to 10 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on the type of pasta) and string them every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking to each other.
7. Pour Cream
After cooking the pasta halfway through, pour the cream. Continue cooking until al dente or firm to the bite. Note that the sauce will start to thicken as the pasta finishes cooking, stir occasionally.
Taste the sauce at this point. Season with black pepper and salt, to taste.
8. Remove from the heat
Remove from heat while still saucy. Sprinkle cheese, parsley, or scallions. The sauce will evaporate quite quickly as you toss. Serve immediately.
Most dried pasta cooks for around 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes longer. The key to not overcooking is to do a taste test at halfway mark based on the package instructions.
Vegetables you can add
Yes, you can definitely add veggies to this creamy pasta recipe. Here's what I recommend, plus cooking tips:
- Baby asparagus - Cut evenly, woody ends removed. For a crunchy texture, add it after halfway through cooking the pasta.
- Spinach - Add once the pasta is al dente. It will quickly cook and wilt.
- Broccoli - Use fresh or frozen. Add it after halfway through cooking the pasta.
- Sun-dried tomatoes - This will give the dish a different flavor profile. Add together the mushrooms.
Watch how to make Creamy Garlic Pasta
More pasta recipes
Love mushrooms? Try these next
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff with Mushroom Soup
- Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Gravy
- Cream of Mushroom Soup Pasta Sauce
- Salisbury Steak with Homemade Mushroom Gravy
- Chunky Mushroom and Celery Soup
- Instant Pot Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Bacon and Mushroom (One Pot!)
- 7 oz streaky bacon (sliced, note 1)
- 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 7 oz mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth/stock (note 2)
- 1 cup milk (any %)
- 8 oz uncooked pasta (note 3)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (add more if preferred)
- fresh parsley or scallions (finely chopped, for garnish)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place bacon in a high-rimmed pan. Turn on the heat then set it to medium. Cook and stir until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered. Scoop out some of the fat if preferred.
- Add garlic. Cook until fragrant and lightly brown.
- Add mushrooms, butter, and dried oregano. Cook until softened. It doesn't have to be fully cooked.
- Pour chicken broth/stock and milk. Bring to a simmer. Scrape the bottom of the pan to bring in all the flavors from the bacon.
- Reduce heat to medium then add pasta. Give it a quick stir then cover it with a lid. Cook until pasta is halfway done, around 9 to 10 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking together.
- Pour cream and continue cooking until pasta is al dente. The sauce will start to thicken as the pasta cooks. Taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat while still saucy. Sprinkle cheese, parsley, or scallions and toss gently. The sauce will reduce further. Serve immediately and sprinkle with more cheese.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Bacon - use lean bacon or back bacon if you're worried about the calories.
- Chicken broth/stock - or dissolve 1 pc chicken bouillon in hot water.
- Pasta - this recipe works well with shell pasta, bow tie (farfalle) other tube pasta - rigatoni, or ziti, spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine.
- Cooking time - most dried pasta cooks for around 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes longer. The key to not overcooking is to do a taste test at halfway mark based on the package direction.
- If the liquid evaporates too quickly and the pasta is still not done, pour more hot water or hot milk–¼ to ½ cup and continue cooking.
Originally published in February 2019. Updated with new photos, video, and a streamlined recipe after further testing.
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