by Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
The year is winding down here in my Firenze, and it is cold, cold, cold! However, my little kitchen in Borgo Pinti is warm and cozy with something good to eat always in the works. For tonight, I will prepare a perfect winter go-to dish—Pasta al Forno!
Pasta al Forno has the same mouth-watering power as lasagna. This recipe is magic because it always turns out deliciously! You can cook it the day before, or eat it as a leftover; but believe me, in a traditional family, there are never any leftovers when you make Pasta al Forno! Your guests will scrape the empty casserole with their fingers!
Pasta al Forno
1 lb. short pasta
1 lb. mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped ham
4 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sauté mushrooms in oil. Add ham, salt, and pepper.
Make béchamel sauce: Heat butter in saucepan. Gradually add flour and hot milk, stirring constantly. Mix in the shredded cheese until fully combined. Add a dash of nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Add béchamel to mushroom and ham mixture. Pour sauce over pasta, carefully mixing the ingredients.
Place in a casserole dish. Top with Parmesan. Bake until crispy, approximately 30 minutes.