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A simple green salad, tossed with good olive oil and fresh lemon juice, is the perfect side to this baked pasta.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 lb rigatoni pasta or 1⁄2 lb penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup onion, diced
- salt, to taste
- 6 1⁄2 ounces mixed thickly-sliced cold cuts, diced (salami, prosciutto, mortadella)
- 2 cups parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- 1⁄4 cup fine plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for pan)
- Heat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 1-quart baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-low heat. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the milk to flour mixture, stirring constantly until milk is incorporated. Repeat until ½ cup of the milk has been added. Then add the remaining milk, incorporating between additions, until all of the milk has been added. Return pan to low heat.
- Cook, stirring frequently, especially along corners of pan, until sauce is the consistency of a thick cream. Stir in salt and remove from heat.
- While béchamel is cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Drain (do not rinse) and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onion and pinch of salt; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Add mixed meats and cook 1 minute more. Add pasta and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in béchamel and cheese.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, cover with breadcrumbs and dot with butter. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
- Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.