Baked Fettucine with Bechamel and Artichokes

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My brother-in-law has been staying with us frequently during the week, cooking for four is really no different than cooking for three, it is as simple as adding a little more pasta to the water. My problem is that I often am at a loss for what to make. We aren’t a cheese and crackers for dinner kind of family, nor do we have frozen dinner in our tiny freezer, neither homemade or store bought. I also wouldn’t dare feed 2 Italian men cheese and crackers, I would risk a revolt!

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La soluzione? Pasta al forno. It is a make ahead meal, I made this one 2 days before we ate it, it feeds a lot of people, sometimes for days, and everyone loves a pasta al forno.

I had almost a liter of milk in my fridge that expired that day, and I really hated the idea of throwing it away, so I decided to make a meal around it. I made a bechamel, used artichokes, which are still falling off of the veggie trucks and used up all of the different packages of tagliatelle and fettucine knots that we had in the pantry. Too few for two, too many for one and not a pasta I use often enough to buy more of. I loaded it all into a casserole and dinner was ready.

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Baked Fettucine with Bechamel and Artichokes

  • 3 medium sized artichokes, trimmed and cleaned
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 cups heated milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of chopped ham (I miss salty American ham for this type of thing)
  • 1 lb fettucine or tagliatelle
  • 3/4 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano, divided

artichokes:

Prepare a bowl with cold water and lemon juice.

Clean the artichokes by eliminating their outer leaves; you can do this by bending them and snapping them off. Do this until you get to the leaves that are lighter in color.  Cut off the tip of the central cone, to eliminate the tougher green end of the leaves. Cut the heart in half and scoop out the inside chokes with a knife or a small spoon. Cut the heart of the artichoke into thin slices and immerse in the lemon water. You can do this a few hours ahead of time.

Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. When the onion starts to sizzle add the slices of artichokes. Sauté artichokes over high heat for a few minutes and add cup of water. Lower heat to a medium flame and cover pan. Stir occasionally. Sauté artichokes for at least 20 minutes, or until they are soft, if the artichokes start to dry out, add water to the pan.

bechamel:

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir. Heat milk in a separate saucepan over low to medium heat. While constantly whisking, gradually add hot milk to the roux. Simmer mixture while continuing to whisk. Sauce will thicken in a few minutes, add more milk if it becomes too thick you want it to stay really creamy. Add 1/2 cup parmigiano when it is off the heat and whisk.

pasta:

In the meantime fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is super al dente, I usually subtract 2 minutes from the cooking time on pasta over here, in the States I would subtract 3.

Drain the pasta and toss with the bechamel, the artichokes and the ham. Pour into a greased baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano on top of the pasta.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pasta in the middle of the oven and bake, covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Raise the heat to 400°F and remove the aluminum foil, bake for another 15 minutes or until it is browned and there are crispy spots.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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One Year Ago: Agretti

Two Years Ago: Zucchini Flower Pizza

Three Years Ago: Ragù with Fresh Egg Fetuccini

Four Years Ago: Baked Fish in Salsa di Agrumi

~ by italicious on April 30, 2013.

One Response to “Baked Fettucine with Bechamel and Artichokes”

  1. The artichokes look so pretty. Great lighting!

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