Kielbasa and Apple Pasta Bake

Kielbasa and Apple Pasta Bake

Sometimes you look at a recipe and you just know.  You know it’s going to be so fantastic, that you will want to eat it every day.  For me, this is one of those recipes.  It’s so perfect, that I think everyone in my family would enjoy it, and that’s a tall order to fill.  This recipe just screams Fall to me, as well as Oktoberfest.  I seem to have Oktoberfest on the brain lately, due to Oktoberfest Reston at Reston Town Center this coming weekend.  I’ve been dreaming of spaetzle, blaukraut, and schnitzel for days now; I really do love German food.  Northern Virginia is greatly lacking in its German cuisine; and no, Herndon residents, Euro Bistro does not count.  If you’re willing to drive a little farther afield, take a trip to Madison and dine at The Bavarian Chef; it’s well worth the drive.  The sides are served family style, so gather up a bunch of friends to take with you; you’ll get to try more dishes that way.  This pasta bake will just have to hold me over until this weekend, when I can kick back and relax with a Hoegaarden and listen to Love Seed Mama Jump, all while enjoying some of my favorite German food.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Box of Rigatoni
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • One Package (12-oz.) Havarti Cheese Slices, Finely Diced
  • 3 Fuji Apples, Cored and Cut into 1/2-Inch Cubes
  • 1 Package Fully-Cooked Kielbasa, Sliced into 1/4-Inch-Thick Coins
  • 3 Scallions, Thinly Sliced (Green Part Only)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook rigatoni per package instructions, set aside.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onion and paprika to the olive oil; cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute.
  6. Gradually whisk in milk and cream.
  7. Bring to boiling, stirring continuously; boil until thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  8. Stir 2/3 of Havarti cheese into the milk mixture.
  9. Add salt and hot sauce, stirring mixture until smooth.
  10. Toss pasta, cheese sauce, kielbasa, and apples together.
  11. Spoon into a 9×13 glass baking dish, mounding slightly.
  12. Cover with tin foil, bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Uncover, and top with remaining 1/3 Havarti cheese and scallions.
  14. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
  15. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Kielbasa and Apple Pasta Bake

Suggestions:

  • Try using Wellshire Farms All Natural Smoked Polska Kielbasa, which is available at Whole Foods.  Unlike most kielbasas, it is free of preservatives, antibiotics, nitrates, and nitrites.
  • I used 3 1/2 cups of skim milk, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  If you use 2% or whole milk, use 4 cups of milk and omit the heavy cream.
  • This is not a meal for one or two people, unless you like lots of leftovers.  Invite a few friends over, make a nice salad, and spend an evening learning to polka.

Improvements:

  • Try playing around with different types of cheeses.  Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, perhaps even a nice horseradish cheddar would work well paired with the kielbasa and apples in this dish.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Family Circle

Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck

-Colleen




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