Excellent make ahead dinner party dish. Use sage sausage if you can find it, and caramelize the leeks for sweetness. —Burnt Offerings
peeled and cubed butternut squash
salt and pepper to taste
chicken stock, plus more for thinning sauce
sage pork or turkey sausage
leeks, green parts removed, washed, and cut into half moons
kale, washed, dried and finely chopped
shredded fontina cheese - divided
finely grated parmesan
cloves of garlic, smashed
half and half
red pepper flakes
panko bread crumbs
rigatoni or penne pasta
In This Recipe
Fill a large pot with 2 quarts of water and 2 TBL of kosher salt and bring to a boil
Add the pasta and parboil it for 9 minutes.
Drain the pasta and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside until ready to assemble.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sausage, crumbling it with a wooden spoon, until brown on the edges, and cooked through. Add a tsp of dried, crushed sage, and the red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Wipe out the skillet and add 2 TBL of butter. When the butter has melted and starts to foam, add the leeks and cook them, stirring often, until soft and caramelized - about 20 minutes.
While the leeks are cooking, place the cubed butternut squash in a large pot and cover with 4 cups of chicken stock. The chicken stock should just cover the squash. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes until fork tender. Set aside to cool in the pot. Don't drain it - you need the chicken stock.
Add the rigatoni, cooked sausage, caramelized leeks, 6 oz. of the fontina cheese and kale in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
Once the butternut squash has cooled for about 20 minutes, add the garlic cloves, and puree the mixture in the pot using an immersion blender, or pour it into a blender and liquify it. Blend in the half and half and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. The mixture should be loose, like butternut squash soup. If it's too thick, thin it with a little more chicken stock or water. The pasta will absorb a lot of it. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Pour the butternut sauce mixture over the pasta and other ingredients and mix well.
Pour the entire mixture into a 9"x13" lasagna pan or large casserole dish.
At this point, the casserole can be covered in foil and refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375' and bake the casserole, covered, for 30 minutes.
While the casserole is baking, melt 2 TBL of butter and mix with the bread crumbs.
Add 2 oz. of fontina cheese and 2 oz. of gorgonzola to the bread crumb mixture and mix well. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet to 350' and flash fry the sage leaves. Set them aside on a paper towel.
At 30 minutes (1 hour if frozen), remove the casserole from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the cheese and bread crumb mixture over the casserole.
Return to the oven for an additional 20-30 minutes until brown and bubbly.
Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes and top with the fried sage leaves before serving.