Meatballs in Cream Sauce


  • 1 (8 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 8 frozen cooked meatballs, or more to taste, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup bite-sized pieces fresh asparagus
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir bacon in skillet until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Cook meatballs in the bacon drippings in the skillet until browned, about 2 minutes per side; remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Stir flour and ranch mix into the retained drippings; cook and stir until the mixture is smooth. Slowly stream milk into the skillet while stirring; continue stirring and bring to a boil. Whisk cream of mushroom soup and ricotta cheese into the milk mixture; add meatballs, asparagus, and mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the asparagus is tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Stir bacon into the sauce; season with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Garnish sauce with Parmesan cheese and parsley; serve over cooked pasta.