This cheesy baked ziti casserole with Havarti boasts all your favorite winter flavors! Make and freeze ahead of time for a quick, comforting weeknight meal.
- 16 ounces (1 pound) ziti or other small hollow pasta
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, divided
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 8 ounces bacon, finely chopped
- 6 ounces Brussels sprouts, shredded
- 1 thinly-sliced shallot
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (6-oz) wedge Roth Creamy Havarti cheese, shredded
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add ziti and cook according to package directions until almost al dente, about 9 to 11 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in bread crumbs and sage. Toss to coat. Set aside.
- In the same pot the pasta was cooked in, add bacon and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon pieces and place in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon grease in the pot.
- Add Brussels sprouts and shallots to reserved bacon fat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add to bowl with bacon pieces.
- In the same pot the Brussels sprouts were cooked in, melt remaining butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in broth until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cheese until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stir in reserved pasta, bacon, and Brussels sprouts. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- To make ahead and freeze, transfer to the freezer after topping with breadcrumbs. Thaw 24 hours in the refrigerator, then bake according to the original instructions.