Serena Wolf’s Baked Penne Alfredo with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
4 cups cubed butternut squash (aim for ¾-inch cubes)
¾ pound Brussels sprouts, washed well, stems and any ugly outer leaves removed, sliced in half (about 4 cups sliced sprouts)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for serving
3 jars Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1 pound Rao’s Homemade Penne Rigate
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 cups grated Fontina cheese (Mozzarella, Gruyère, or an Italian cheese blend will also be delicious)
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Place the butternut squash and brussels sprouts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables in an even layer doing your best to leave a little bit of space between each one. (If your vegetables are overlapping on the baking sheet, divide them between two baking sheets so that the vegetables can lightly caramelize instead of steam.) Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once at the 15-minute mark, until the vegetables are just tender and lightly browned in spots. (Don’t overdo it here. They’ll continue to cook with the pasta later on.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the Rao’s Homemade Penne Rigate just shy of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the garlic and cook until golden brown, 1½ to 2 minutes.(Be very careful not to burn the garlic. If it looks like it’s browning too much, turn down the heat.) Stir in the breadcrumbs and a tiny pinch of salt and cook for about 2 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and have darkened a shade in color.
Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Add the roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts, Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce, and thyme, and fold everything together. Taste and season with a little extra thyme, salt, and/or black pepper if needed.
Transfer the pasta to a 3.5-to 4.5-quart baking dish. Top with the Fontina cheese and sprinkle with the garlicky breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the topping is lightly browned.
Serve the pasta warm topped with extra fresh thyme if you like.