Creamy baked ziti with sneaky brussels sprouts

Shredding Brussels sprouts and adding them to a creamy cheese sauce adds a hint of roasted flavor to a favorite baked pasta dish -- and renders them pretty much unrecognizable to those who scorn the green globes.



  • 1 lb ziti or rigatoni
  • 2 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups lowfat or skim milk
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 lb Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter

Yield: 6 Servings


  • Fill a 6-quart stockpot with water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, toss lightly with olive oil, and reserve.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Stem the Brussels sprouts and slice thinly into shreds, discarding any loose or dark leaves.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 3-quart heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, then stir in the shredded Brussels sprouts and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until the sprouts are tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the remaining butter and stir to melt. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes until the sauce darkens slightly to a golden brown.
  • Slowly whisk the milk into the stockpot – the mixture will clump slightly, then smooth out – and raise the heat to medium. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Add 3/4 of the shredded Fontina to the sauce and stir until melted. Add black pepper and kosher salt to taste.
  • Add the reserved ziti and stir to combine.
  • Pour the pasta and sauce into a 9 X13-inch baking dish and sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly across the casserole.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.