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Baked Ziti with Prosciutto & Peas

Baked Ziti with Prosciutto & Peas
Baked pasta dishes are always a crowd-pleaser, but you can save time by simply mixing the pasta with the hot sauce and then serving. Omit the crumbs or garnish the pasta with toasted bread crumbs. Nearly any shaped pasta, such as linguine or bow tie, can be used with this creamy, rustic sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 lb. ziti, penne or other tubular pasta
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto or ham, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

Cook the pasta
Preheat an oven to 425ºF. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.

Make the sauce
In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming, and cook until the sauce is thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg, cheese, peas and prosciutto. Return the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine.

Bake the pasta
Transfer the pasta and sauce to the prepared dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, One Pot, by Carrolyn Carreño (Oxmoor House, 2008).