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Ali Allie | CoServ

Assembling this elegant pie takes a bit of time, but the fragrant, show-stealing results are worth it. Consider it for your next weekend dinner party. Allowing the pie to rest before serving allows the pasta to absorb excess moisture and results in the neatest-looking slices.

4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 pound rigatoni pasta (the largest variety you can find)
1 egg, beaten
7 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, divided use
8 ounces plus 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, divided use
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided use
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 bunch sage, divided use (1 tablespoon chopped)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 pepperoni rounds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the squash cubes into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine. Spread seasoned squash on a baking sheet and roast 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender, then set aside to cool.

3. While squash bakes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni until slightly underdone. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

4. Lightly coat an 8- or 9-inch springform pan.

5. Combine the cooled squash, egg, 5 ounces Gorgonzola, 8 ounces mozzarella and milk in a food processor, and purée until smooth.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

7. Pour the squash mixture into the skillet and add chicken broth, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, cayenne, nutmeg, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and cook about 2 minutes to combine flavors. If the sauce seems too thick, add more chicken broth to thin.

8. Spoon about 1/4 cup sauce into the bottom of the springform pan. Arrange all the rigatoni in the pan so that each piece is standing upright on its end. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta (pushing the sauce down into the rigatoni’s holes as best you can), and cover with remaining 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella.

9. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top with pepperoni (if using) and 2 ounces Gorgonzola, and bake another 10–15 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Allow the pie to sit 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

10. While the pie rests, fry the sage: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the remaining sage leaves and cook 1 minute on each side, until the sage has darkened in color but is not burnt. Transfer the fried leaves to a plate lined with paper towels to cool briefly, and then arrange the leaves on the top of the pie.

Serves 8–10.