Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pancetta and Mushroom Baked Pasta with Romano Béchamel

Baked pasta doesn’t always mean lasagna or stuffed shells. Simply layering any kind of pasta with cheese and sauce then baking it results in that warm, toasty flavor and chewy bite of typical baked noodle dishes.

I think the highlight of this recipe is the béchamel sauce—simply a white sauce made with a basic roux and milk. Here, I added finely grated Romano cheese for an extra rich, creamy sauce to top the pasta mixture. It’s easy to make, and one taste will tell you it was worth the extra step.

Serves 4-5


For the Romano Béchamel 
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese
For the Pasta
  • 7 oz mini penne
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling dish
  • 1/3 lb pancetta, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 12 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Chopped Pancetta

For the Romano Béchamel 
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour a little at a time, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Whisk until the roux is a light gold color, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and slowly add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the Romano cheese.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Whisk until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.
Roux Beginning to Cook
Cooked Roux 
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Bechamel
For the Pasta
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water 7 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pancetta, garlic, and shallot and cook 6 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add the drained pasta and parsley to the pan and stir well to combine.
Pancetta Mixture Beginning to Cook
Mushrooms Added 
Pasta Mixture
  1. Lightly oil a 13 X 9-inch baking dish. Spoon 1/2 of the pasta mixture into the dish and spread to an even layer. Scatter the provolone cheese on top.
  2. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture into the dish, spreading to an even layer. Pour the béchamel sauce overtop and sprinkle with dried oregano.
  3. Bake uncovered until bubbly and beginning to brown on top, 30-35 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.
1st Layer of Pasta with Provolone
Pasta Ready for Sauce 
Pasta Ready to Bake 
Baked Pasta
Divide among 4-5 pasta bowls and serve hot.

Pancetta and Mushroom Baked Pasta with Romano Béchamel

No comments:

Post a Comment