Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Baked Pasta Hive

Mains from Issue 4 – Fall / Winter 2014 – Cocoon

Baked pasta reaches new heights, literally, in this vertical rendering of the oven-bound dish that takes on a honeycomb-like appearance in the pan. Choose a wide-hipped pasta, the most fitting vessel for navigating a sea of velvety béchamel and hearty Bolognese.

serves 6

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 ¼ cups whole milk, divided
  • ¾ lb paccheri or rigatoni
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano

  • 1

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook pancetta, carrot, onion, celery, and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Add beef and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown. Add tomato paste, wine, and ¾ cup milk. Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened but juicy, about 25 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 375°F. While sauce is cooking, boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain well. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until pale golden. Whisk in remaining 1½ cups milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking, 2 minutes, until lightly thickened. Season with pepper and stir in half the cheese.

  • 3

    Pour meat sauce into a 2-qt baking dish and arrange noodles standing up pushing into sauce. Spoon white sauce over pasta and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

  • 4

    Bake until sauces are bubbling and top is golden, about 20 minutes.