Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

Total Time:
55 min
25 min
30 min

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
Bechamel sauce:

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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    We loved this recipe! I didn't change a thing but added a little extra cheese :)
    Made this recipe from her cookbook which said you could make ahead to a certain point. You can't! This was amazing fresh but did not re-heat well.
    Great recipe. I added garlic as per previous comments and also chopped up some fresh spinach and added it to hot pasta before adding bechamel. Spinach wilted by pasta so no need to cook it. Wanted to add something healthy to this cheesy pasta! Turned out great!
    Tasty and easy. I made a healthier version by using almond milk instead of whole milk, and ground turkey instead of prosciutto. I also left out the nutmeg since almond milk adds just enough nuttiness. I normally don't like Giatta's recipes since she complicates the basics, but this one is a keeper.
    Incredible and easy.
    I cooked pasta for 5 minutes which was perfect. Next time I will add some garlic. Otherwise awesome!!!
    It was delicious.
    Awesome and easy!! YUM!!
    We all love this dish. Easy and tasty!
    Essentially a glorified baked mac and cheese. Perhaps using different cheeses may produce a more interesting dish.
    fairly easy to make, always turns out great, my husband and I love this!!!
    This dish is great. Very easy to use. I made it for a dinner party for the first time and everyone loved it. I used regular bacon and was still delicious. Yummy!
     Added one clove pressed garlic and seasoned panko breadcrumbs to the top to please my family that likes a lot of flavor.
     Boiled the pasta a little longer 7.3 minutes and glad I did, it would have been undercooked if not.
     Fast, did this in 25 mintues. I also heated the milk which makes it a lot less likely to lump and cooks the bechamel faster.
    this is another awesome recipe even i made a healthier version and what i have in hand instead. i used olive oil instead of butter,2 cans of 2% milk instead of whole milk,wheat flour & wheat penne, instead of regular AP flour and rigatoni pasta, parmesan cheese and added left over ham since i dont have fontina and prosciutto ! still a huge hit and for sure going to the FAVORITES list! thanks giada! 
    This recipe blew me away! I substituted crumbled italian sausage for the proscuitto, but other than that I followed the recipe. It was a HUGE hit with my family and was just unbelievable scrumptious. I will make again, and again and again . . .
    This is the fifth time I have made this dish. The first four times my teenagers weren't crazy about it (I had added different veggies and omitted the proscuitto. This time, both the kids had friends over and I needed something easy to make. I didn't have fontina or whole milk, so I substituted 2% milk and a combination of cheddar and parmasean cheeses. It was a hit with the four of us plus their friends. Using the 2% milk didn't change the creaminess of the sauce, it was just a lot lighter dish, which we enjoyed more. Any way you make this, it's delicious!! Thanks Giada, for a really easy and delicious recipe!!
    I have been making this dish for about 4 years now and it is sooo good everytime. It is so perfect for special occasions. The only thing is, I always seem to forget the nutmeg and I do add just a tad extra cheese to the sauce, makes it creamier and cheesier. The way it browns on top at the end is just perfect. Love Giada.
    this was so very good and my husband loved it, now i am going to make this for the rest of my family, let's see what they'll think.
    Very easy and so delicious!!! I made a few changes just for my own taste. I added the whole cup of Fontina cheese to the bechamel sauce and instead of prosciutto I used bacon (so yummy! and topped it with 1/3 cup of Fontina cheese and the cubed butter. It came out perfect!
    This recipe was great! My family loved it as well. I thought bechamel sauce was something I would keep ordering from restaurants, Now I can make it myself.  
    Thanks Giada!!!
    Sorry Giada. I followed this recipe exactly and it was ok. Not a lot of flavor. I think it would have been better with a sharper cheese. Wasn't horrible. Just not my thing I guess. This is the third recipe I have tried from her and they are all kind of ehhhh.
    I made this last night for Dinner. It was hit in my house. I didn't use prosciutto but i did use the fontina cheese.. It was a simple but good meal.. I also used about a cup of cheese plus more for the top and i served it with homemade italian sausage meatballs on the side.
    I made this for dinner last night and it was soooooooooo good. Cheesy and creamy yummmmmmmmmmmm. I could not find the fontina cheese and they looked to be out of the prosciutto so I substituted pecarino Romano cheese and Canadian bacon. A little certainly goes a long way in filling you up so don't worry about the calories. I can't wait to see what it is like to reheat for lunch.
    Been making this one for a couple years now and it is STILL one of our family's most favorite meals! And we have 2 very picky kids : We use shredded mozzarella and deli ham (even luncheon meat on busy days instead of the fontina and prosciutto :
    Very Tasty. The only thing I would do differently is fry up the proscuitto in a pan first, add all the cheese to the sauce, and not bake the dish. I like the cheese to stay smooth and creamy.
    This was really easy, delicious, and a good potluck dish. If you don't have proscuitto on hand, thinly sliced julienned ham works well too.
    Easy to make and enjoy on a winters night!Total comfort cooking-served it with an arugula salad-good eats!
    Delicious! My favorite Gia recipe!
    Amazing. Added baby bella mushrooms for an even heartier meal. Great comfort food, and very easy to make.
    Amazing! Made rigatoni exactly as described, just folded in some homemade mini meatballs before baking- perfection!!
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