Friday Snack: BLT Creamy Mac & Cheese

1 lb. ziti rigati pasta
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for drizzling
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup marinated, chopped red pepper
1 can tomato paste
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago or parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

2. Whilte the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp at the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute. Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in half of the shredded cheese, then the reserved pasta cooking water.

3. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Pile into a casserole and top with the tomatoes and remaining shredded cheese. Bake until browned on top, 7 to 8 minutes.