Do you like pasta? If yes, please keep reading.
Do you like cheese? If yes, please keep reading.
(If your answer is no, who are you??)
Do you like making elegant dishes that are easier than they sound? If yes, keep reading.
Because I have the recipe for you!!
I am in a neighborhood “Gourmet Club” that regularly meets for theme dinners. Our most recent theme was Giada de Laurentis and I prepared her most amazing recipe for Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce. I hate to toot my own horn, but I think it was the best dish of the night! I have made this pasta again and again and cannot stop thinking about it. I consider it a “grown-up” version of Macaroni and Cheese, which is why Jason lovingly calls it “Mac-A-Lindsey.” I’ve made a few alterations to Giada’s original recipe to call it my own and encourage you to stop what you’re doing and try this recipe! “Bechamel sauce” is a fancy name for butter, flour, and milk whisked together to form a thick, creamy sauce. Add some fontina cheese, prosciutto, and truffle oil, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a side dish.
Here’s how I make it.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 quart whole milk
- Pinch fresh nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup grated fontina
- 4 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
- 1 pound dry rigatoni
- 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil (if you have it!)
Start by preheating the oven to 425. In a large pot, boil your rigatoni until it is al dente.
In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the 1/2 cup of flour until it is thick and coats the bottom of the pan.
Pour the milk in, slowly, and whisk to prevent sticking or burning. Continue to whisk until the sauce is simmering and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It took me about ten minutes at medium-high heat. This is when you have “Bechamel Sauce.”
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the fontina, prosciutto, truffle oil, salt, and pepper.
The pasta should be done by now. Drain in a collander and stir into the sauce while it is still steaming hot.
Pour the pasta into a small casserole dish and bake for approximately 25 minutes at 425 degrees. I let my pasta cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
I served my “Mac-A-Lindsey” with a side of pan-fried italian turkey sausage for protein. But really, I only ate the pasta for dinner. It is really an amazing recipe - soft, cheesy, and full of decadent flavors. I love how the large rigatoni noodles have the sauce both inside of the shells and outside. What a great texture!
Oh, Giada, she doesn’t look like she’s ever eaten this in her skinny life…
But, you should! This is a great side dish or main course for any occasion. It only uses a few ingredients so you can feel good about including it in your weekly grocery budget. Recipes like this are truly hard to find. It uses “grown up” ingredients to create a classic dish we are all familiar with – cheesy pasta. Anyone, from picky eaters to real “foodies,” can enjoy this meal.
Hope you enjoy it! HAPPY HALLOWEEN