3 tablespoons butter
12 to 16 large sage leaves
2 large bulbs garlic
1 1/2 cup half-and-half, divided
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina Val d’Aosta (if not available, substitute Gruyère), shredded
1 cup grated freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 ounces Gorgonzola Dolce or gorgonzola, broken into pieces
4 ounces Taleggio or mascarpone
1 pound rigatoni
For the Salad:
1 small shallot
1 teaspoon fennel pollen or ground fennel, optional
2 tablespoons aged Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Acacia honey
1/3 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1 head escarole, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 radicchio, shredded
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In small skillet, melt butter. Add sage and cook to crisp; remove and drain on a plate.
Cut ends off the garlic to expose cloves and pour brown sage butter over garlic. Season garlic bulbs with salt, wrap them in foil and roast to golden and soft, 40 minutes. Remove, let cool then squeeze cloves from skins and mash into paste.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
In a saucepan, heat 1 cup half-and-half over moderate heat. Whisk in roasted garlic paste then stir in Fontina to melt. Stir in Parmigiano, Gorgonzola Dolce and Tallegio or mascarpone. Season sauce with white pepper and salt to taste; keep warm over low heat.
Cook pasta to al dente and drain. Toss with sauce and top with crispy sage leaves.
For the salad, grate or mince shallot and add to large salad bowl. Add fennel pollen, Balsamic and honey. Stream in EVOO while whisking and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add escarole, radicchio, hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds, toss then taste to adjust seasoning.
Serve rigatoni with salad alongside.