Enticingly aromatic when served straight from the oven, with a golden au-gratin top, this pumpkin, sage and sausage rigatoni is a wonderful rustic fall dinner dish. Pumpkin is one of those super foods boosting our immunity and this casserole serves up a big dose. The rigatoni is enveloped in a creamy, velvety custard made from the pumpkin purée, milk, mascarpone, egg yolk and grated cheeses seasoned with fall spices. Simple, make-ahead but oh so good!
PUMPKIN, SAGE and SAUSAGE RIGATONI
14 oz uncooked Italian sausage, hot or sweet; I used a broccoli rabe sausage
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves
1 29 oz can of pumpkin purée
1 1/2 c milk
4 oz mascarpone cheese
2 egg yolks
1 c plus 3 T grated Quattro Formaggi cheese mix(asiago, fontina, parmesan and provolone) or any combination you prefer
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t salt
fresh ground pepper
1/3 c of panko bread crumbs
1- Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta adding the salt.
2- Remove sausage from casing and brown in a large pot, over medium heat, until cooked, breaking up any clumps. Drain off fat. Add chopped sage and reserve.
3- Cook rigatoni as per package directions, minus one minute.
4- While pasta is cooking, make custard. Using the same pot as the sausage was cooked in, whisk together the pumpkin, spices, milk, egg yolks, mascarpone and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring while cooking, until cheeses are melted and custard is bubbling.
5- Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Return to pot, add sausage and the pumpkin custard and gently mix to combine.
6- Pour into a 13 X 9 X 2 dish or in 8 individual oven-safe gratin dishes. Sprinkle with the panko bread crumbs, some fresh ground pepper and finish with the reserved 3 T of grated cheese.
7- Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes, uncovered, on the middle rack, until golden brown. Increase heat to broil and place under broiler for 1 minute.
This is the first of many pumpkin inspired dishes I will be featuring throughout fall. I looove pumpkin and it is so good for us! I hope you do too!
” I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.” Henry David Thoreau