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Sausage and Butternut Riggies


  • One box frozen butternut squash puree (10-ounces)

  • 1 pound rigatoni with lines

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon EVOO

  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 cups sharp yellow Cheddar

  • 1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Fennel and Celery Slaw, for serving, recipe follows

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon grated shallot

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley tops

  • 4 ribs celery and leafy tops, very thinly sliced

  • 1 large or 2 medium bulbs fennel, very thinly sliced, plus a handful of fronds, chopped

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Toasted pistachios or walnuts, chopped, to garnish


Defrost the squash puree in a microwave and place in a strainer to drain. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to al dente, 7-8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the skillet, crumble and brown. Add the garlic, onions and thyme and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Pre-heat the broiler with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken to coat a spoon. Stir in the butternut squash and bring the sauce back to a bubble and melt in the Cheddar. Toss the pasta, sauce and sausage to combine. Top with the Pecorino Romano and parsley and broil to brown, 1-2 minutes.

Serve with the Fennel and Celery Slaw.

Combine the honey, vinegar and shallot with the lemon juice and whisk in the EVOO. Add the parsley, celery and fennel and toss to coat and combine. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter and top with the toasted nuts.