This cheesy baked ziti casserole featuring Fontina cheese has all your favorite winter flavors! Make and freeze it ahead for a quick, comforting 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
- 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 small microwave-safe bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in bread crumbs and sage. Toss to coat. Set aside.
- In the same pot pasta was cooked in, add bacon and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon pieces and place in 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.
- To the same pot Brussels sprouts were cooked in, melt remaining butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in broth until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in Fontina until smooth. Season to taste with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste.
- Stir in reserved pasta, bacon and Brussels sprouts. Transfer to 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 freezer after topping with breadcrumbs. Thaw 24 hours in refrigerator and bake according to the original instructions.