Recipe: Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentis of the Food Network. I was looking for a recipe to try and was surprised to came across this one... it was one that I have made for years.... the only difference is that she uses a pinch of fresh nutmeg... which adds a really nice flavor to the dish. It's a basic dish that is both satisfying and delicious.

It uses a basic Bechamel sauce and fontina cheese. The prosciutto sets the flavor of this dish apart from your average creamy cheese sauce.

It's a terrific baked dish that can be prepared ahead and will definitely wow your guests with the taste. It would be a great dish for a buffet, it will go very nicely with many other entrees and side dishes.

I have printed exactly as she wrote it and I would recommend following it exactly for the best results.

The recipe calls for Fontina cheese. Belgioioso makes it and you should be able to find it in the gourmet cheese case in the supermarket. It s a semi soft mild cheese with a sweet, buttery flavor.

Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce Recipe:

All you need:

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 ( I used regular salt and ground black pepper)
1 cup grated fontina
1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
1 pound dry rigatoni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make the 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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