Penne Baked with Smoked Bacon and Gruyere

YIELD: 16 servings

2 lbs. penne pasta, uncooked
1 lb. bacon, raw, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt. heavy cream
1 lb. Gruyere or Swiss-type cheese, shredded
to taste salt and pepper
3 Tbsps. fresh thyme leaves

  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well.
  2. Cook minced bacon over medium low heat until very crisp. Drain, reserving 3 Tbsps. of fat.
  3. Place reserved bacon fat i

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