April 26, 2014

Baked Cheesy Pasta with Prosciutto

Once again, Giada delivers on her promises of tasty recipes that, with just a little bit of something extra, take normal pasta dishes into something amazing.  She called her recipe Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce, and I just have to say that it's a disservice when she doesn't mention the prosciutto!  Talk about burying the lead.  Anyway, you can have this great dish all wrapped up and ready to serve within 45 minutes.  Add garlic bread and a salad, and you've got a killer weeknight meal here.

Saucy hammy goodness right there.

I usually halve these recipes because I only need 2-3 servings, but here's the full size which will easily serve 4-5.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart (4 cups/32 ounces) whole milk, room temperature
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste (I cheated and used black pepper)
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
  • 1 pound (box) dry rigatoni or other short pasta.
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.  Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and set aside.
  2. Set a large pot of generously salted water to boil.  While waiting for water to boil, make the cheese sauce.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.  Stir continually and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth and creamy.  Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the fontina, the prosciutto, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  4. Your water should be boiling by now.  Add your pasta and cook just 5 minutes.  Because you're baking the pasta, it will cook the rest of the way in the sauce in the oven.  Drain the pasta and transfer pasta to the pot with the cheese sauce.  Stir until the pasta is generously coated.
  5. Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining fontina, then dot with the diced butter.  Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

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