This was one of those “recipes of necessity” we find so often on nights when we have only what is in the house. Most of this was cribbed from a Mac & Cheese book on the shelf, but a good deal of improv came into play as well. We left the onion raw and browned the sausage well. It’s pretty simple and really tasty.
For 2-4 servings you’ll need 8-12 oz of pasta (we used rigatoni because that’s what we had, but any other “tubular” shaped pasta would work just as well), 2-3 sausage links (we used a hot-dog-like pork sausage) cut into thin segments, 1-2 shallots finely chopped, 2 Tbsp heavy cream, 3-4 Tbsp shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 3-4 Tbsp goat cheese or feta, 3-4 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, 2-3 Tbsp panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium sized pot and cook pasta al-dente (about 1 min less than package states).
Preheat the oven to 375.
Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet, turn off heat but keep the pan and oils in tact.
Lightly butter a high sided baking pan – probably 9″ square with 3″ sides.
Drain the pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the water for use later. Place the past back into the cooking pot and add the heavy cream and about 1-2 tsp of any of the cheeses. Mix well so that the cheese combines with the cream into a thick(ening) sauce. Gradually add the cheeses in small amounts, stirring well and keeping the resulting liquid smooth. Use a little of the pasta water to loosen it up if is gets too thick.
Once all of the cheese is added and the sauce is smooth, add in the chopped onion and brown sausage (and oils from the cooking pan) and stir well.
Pour the whole mixture into the greased baking tray and sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the top. Place baking tray into the oven until bubbly and golden – about 15-20 mins.