Today is all about baked rigatoni with prosciutto. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day, which might mean you’re hunting for recipe ideas to make for loved ones. So why am I sharing a baked pasta recipe? Because it’s my loved one’s (Lauren) favorite dinner I make. If health were no concern we would eat this dish every day. I mean cheese and pasta? What could be better!?! Sadly that is not the case, but one can hope.
So a few years back, I helped my Mom cook for her Christmas Tree Trimming party which is a yearly tradition at our house. To make it easy to prepare for about 50 people, I decided on an Italian them. At the time I was making pretty much everything from Giada De Laurentiis and it was on Food Network that I found what I like to now call my “fancy” mac and cheese. Yes I know it’s not macaroni so maybe it should be called rigatoni and cheese but either way it’s delicious.
A couple of years later, knowing Lauren’s love of mac and cheese as well, I told her one day I was going to make this mac and cheese that had prosciutto in it. She was actually skeptical about it as she wasn’t a huge fan of prosciutto, thinking it was just too salty. The truth was she just never had great prosciutto, but with this recipe the prosciutto acts as the salt and just gives a great contrast to the creamy, nutty flavor from the fontina cheese sauce. And now it is Lauren’s favorite mac & cheese dish and just might be yours too once you try it! Enjoy!
Baked Rigatoni with Prosciutto
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 quart (4 cups) milk
- 2 cups grated fontina cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 lb prosciutto, cut into small pieces
- 1 lb rigatoni
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Melt 1 stick butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and mixture starts to bubble. (About 2 minutes) While stirring, gradually add the milk and continue whisky until the sauce is creamy.
- Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until it thickens and you can coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and add the prosciutto, 1 cup fontina, nutmeg and pepper. I've found this sauce does not need salt as you get plenty of salt from the prosciutto and cheese.
- While sauce is cooking bring to boil a large pot of water. Boil the rigatoni for about 7 minutes or just 2 minutes less than the instructions say. You don't need to cook all the way as it will cook the rest of the way in the oven.
- Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish and add the drained pasta and sauce. Mix thoroughly, making sure all the pasta is coated. Top with the rest of the fontina cheese, Parmesan and 3 tbsp of diced butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Let rest for 5 minutes and enjoy!