Creamy Baked Ziti with Sneaky Brussels Sprouts

Shredding Brussels sprouts and adding them to a creamy cheese sauce adds a hint of roasted flavor to a favorite baked pasta dish -- and renders them pretty much unrecognizable to those who scorn the green globes.

Casey Barber

Creamy Baked Ziti with Sneaky Brussels Sprouts

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    1 lb ziti or rigatoni 2 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
    Kosher salt 2 1/2 cups lowfat or skim milk
    Olive oil 1/4 lb Fontina cheese, shredded
    1/2 lb Brussels sprouts Freshly ground black pepper
    3 Tbs unsalted butter


    Prep: 20 min Total:
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    • 1

      Fill a 6-quart stockpot with water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, toss lightly with olive oil, and reserve.

    • 2

      Preheat the oven to 400.

    • 3

      Stem the Brussels sprouts and slice thinly into shreds, discarding any loose or dark leaves.

    • 4

      Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 3-quart heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, then stir in the shredded Brussels sprouts and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until the sprouts are tender, about 4 minutes.

    • 5

      Add the remaining butter and stir to melt. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes until the sauce darkens slightly to a golden brown.

    • 6

      Slowly whisk the milk into the stockpot – the mixture will clump slightly, then smooth out – and raise the heat to medium. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

    • 7

      Add 3/4 of the shredded Fontina to the sauce and stir until melted. Add black pepper and kosher salt to taste.

    • 8

      Add the reserved ziti and stir to combine.

    • 9

      Pour the pasta and sauce into a 9 X13-inch baking dish and sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly across the casserole.

    • 10

      Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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