Creamy Orecchiette with Spinach, Artichokes, and Bacon

Orecchiette pasta, known as "little ear," comes from Southern Italy. It works well for sauces, which collect in the pasta's concave shape.

white serving dish with creamy pasta topped with bacon
Photo: Brie Passano
Prep Time:
5 mins
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
6 cups


  • 6 ounce dried orecchiette pasta

  • 6 slices bacon

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 12 ounce jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained

  • 1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 3-qt. baking dish. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Transfer pasta to prepared dish.

  2. In a 10-inch skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels; chop when cool. Reserve 1 Tbsp. drippings in skillet.

  3. Heat skillet with drippings over medium. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds. Add next three ingredients (through cayenne pepper). Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add next two ingredients (through basil) and 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until cream cheese melts. (Sauce consistency should resemble heavy cream; if necessary, thin with remaining pasta water, adding 1 Tbsp. at a time.)

  4. Stir next three ingredients (through black pepper) and bacon into sauce mixture. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to coat. Top with mozzarella cheese.

  5. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.


Refrigerate artichoke heart marinade in a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month--it makes a superlative vinaigrette for salad greens and chilled pasta salads.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

495 Calories
32g Fat
31g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 495
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 719mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 7.1mg 36%
Calcium 393mg 30%
Iron 2.7mg 15%
Potassium 437mg 9%
Folate, total 95.4mcg
Vitamin B-12 1.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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