by Susan Hanna

It may be April, but it’s been chilly outside. That and the current need for comfort food led me to try this baked pasta from Food and Wine. We love baked pasta and this recipe is exceptional. Cook onions, add radicchio and stir until it wilts. Stir in goat cheese and cream, bring to a simmer and set aside. Cook the pasta and stir it into the onion and cream mixture. Add spices, fontina cheese and prosciutto. Place in a baking pan and top with more fontina and Parmesan. Cook until browned and bubbling. I assembled this early in the day and refrigerated it, so just needed to pop it in the oven for a half hour to get dinner on the table. If you do make it ahead, top with the two cheeses just before baking.

Serves 6-8.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar, which does not contain sulfites. President’s Choice goat cheese and Neilson whipping cream are additive-free. Check the butter and fontina for colour and make sure the ground nutmeg doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano contains no additives. Look for prosciutto preserved only with salt. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium-size red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large head radicchio, cored and sliced into ½ -inch- (1.25-cm-) thick ribbons
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons (52.5 ml) kosher salt, divided
  • 6 ounces (170 g) softened goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 ½ cups/375 ml)
  • 1 ½ cups (375 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 quarts (3 L) water
  • 1 pound (454 g) uncooked short pasta (such as penne or fusilli)
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.6 ml) freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces (226 g) fontina cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups/500 ml), divided
  • 4 ounces (113 g) thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces
  • Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing baking dish
  • 2 ounces (56 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ½ cup/125 ml)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Heat oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) , high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in radicchio, garlic, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt; cook, stirring often, until radicchio is just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in goat cheese and cream; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Bring 3 quarts (3 L) water to a boil in a large pot over high. Stir in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) salt. Add pasta, and cook until just shy of al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain; reserve 1 cup (250 ml) cooking liquid. Stir pasta, reserved 1 cup (250 ml) cooking liquid, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt into radicchio mixture. Fold in 1½ cups (375 ml) fontina cheese and prosciutto; toss well.
  3. Transfer pasta mixture to a 3-quart (3 L) baking dish lightly greased with butter. Dot with remaining ½ cup (125 ml) fontina cheese; sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top and bubbling around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

From Food and Wine