Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 6 servings

Bechamel sauce:

* 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces)
* 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 quart whole milk, at room temperature
* Pinch fresh nutmeg
* Sea salt and white pepper
* 1 cup grated fontina
* 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
* 1 pound dry rigatoni
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Bechamel sauce:

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour
and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Always stirring, gradually
add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and
creamy. Simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in
nutmeg, 1/2 cup fontina, prosciutto and season with salt and white
pepper. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add the
rigatoni and cook for about 5 minutes. Since you will be cooking the
pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is
still hard. Drain in a colander. Return pasta to the pot and pour in
bechamel sauce. Using a wooden spoon, mix well until all the pasta is
coated with the sauce.

Into a greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pour the pasta with cream
sauce. Smooth out top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup fontina. Dot
the top with diced butter and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until
bubbling and the top is golden brown.

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