|Baked Rigatoni with Bechamela
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.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for several minutes until bubbling subsides, remove from heat and cool slightly.
Gradually add the milk and whisk vigorously until it is all incorporated and without lumps - return to stove and simmer, stirring regularly and scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is thick and covers the back of a spoon - about 10-15 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. 6 servings, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis