Sausage, Leek & Gruyere Pasta CasseroleSunday, December 13, 2015
Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post. The opinions and text are all mine.
When Johnsonville® asked me to create a holiday casserole, I picked up a package of their breakfast sausage with visions of a savory breakfast strata in my head. But as the absent minded cook I am this time of year, I mistakenly used up all the bread for another dish! Eying half a box of cavatappi noodles in the pantry, I recalled a sausage mac & cheese dish that I made for one of my clients earlier this fall. It was packed with ground sausage, truffle cheese and sage. I've wanted to recreate that one ever since, so I was immediately excited for the change of plans. Making do with the ingredients I already had on hand, I decided on the classic pairing of leeks and sausage, with smoked gruyere and truffle butter added into the mix for a touch of elegance. You can bake this in standard casserole dish (anything with a two quart capacity) or your skillet. I tried out these cute little mini cast iron skillets I picked up this weekend that would make a neat individual serving!
Did you know that baked mac & cheese is technically a casserole? I don't often think of it that way, despite throwing everything but the kitchen sink into my mac and cheese dishes lately. This dish is really a trumped up mac & cheese disguised as a casserole...or maybe the other way around. Either way it's not the canned cream of mushroom soup that comes to mind when I hear casserole, so if you're anything like me go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief! It's cozy and comforting in the way you'd want a creamy baked pasta to be, with ingredient upgrades to make it deserving of a spot in your holiday lineup. If you've made my mac and cheese dishes, you'll find the process here to be similar!
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 lb dry cavatappi or macaroni noodles (about 2 heaping cups)
6 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese
6 oz smoked gruyere cheese (if you can't find smoked, just use a mild gruyere)
4 oz muenster cheese
2 leeks, sliced (whites and pale green parts only)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 cups whole milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt, as needed
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Special Equipment: 2 qt casserole dish or equivalent
Before you leave, I'd love if you leave a comment and let me know what your favorite casserole is! You might just give me an idea for a future post!