This is especially good to make when apples are in season and at the peak of their flavor, and it features a favorite food pairing: sweet-tart apples with cheddar cheese.
- nonstick cooking spray
- 8 ounces dried rigatoni pasta or 8 ounces penne pasta
- 2 cups milk (not fat-free)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shredded cheese (4 ounces)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
- 3 medium fuji or jonathan apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you want a fine-grained apple in order to avoid the apples getting too mushy when cooked)
- 8 ounces cooked kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 medium green onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish or casserole with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions in a large saucepan. Drain and return to saucepan; set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan whisk together milk and flour. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir 1/2 cup of cheese, salt and hot pepper sauce into the milk mixture until smooth.
- In the large saucepan toss together the cooked pasta, apples, kielbasa and cheese sauce. Transfer to prepared baking dish; cover with foil.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and carefully stir pasta mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the green onion. Bake 10-15 minuted more or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
This recipe has a wonderful combination of flavors that are perfect for autumn. I made the recipe gluten free by using brown rice pasta and potato starch as a thickener in place of the flour. A touch of white pepper was added to the sauce and the hot sauce omitted. The apples were still firm and provided a nice contrast in texture. I think I used a touch more cheese than the recipe called for. This was served with a tossed salad for a complete meal.
It just didn't have enough flavor for me
I used turkey kielbasa, 2 Jonathan apples, and spinach rotini pasta. I also omitted the hot sauce and final 1/2 cup shredded cheese; it wasn't needed. This lovely pasta dish was perfect for a chilly autumn night.