Main Course/ Recipes

Lemon Ricotta Penne Al Forno

I’ve never been a super big fan of prosciutto, preferring instead the more bacon-like pancetta. Something about the texture, its sort of stretchiness and flavor just put me off. But lately, it’s growing on me. (See the grilled pizza with prosciutto and arugula). When it’s cooked just a little bit, prosciutto is an entirely different animal. And its saltiness is perfect in this baked pasta dish.

It’s mac n cheese gone Italian, bringing together a bechamel base with some ricotta, prosciutto and lemon. And with the summer heat moderating as we slide into…late summer (I can’t say the “f” word yet, I just can’t), a baked pasta is starting to feel just right.

Lemon Ricotta Penne Al Forno

Print Recipe
Serves: 3-4


  • 1/2 lb. dried penne
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 T. butter
  • 3 T. all purpose flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 1/8 lb. prosciutto, cut chiffonade
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan



Preheat oven to 350F.


Boil penne according to package directions in salted water. Drain & set aside.


Spray a 10x7 baking dish or 10 in. pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.


In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes until floury taste is cooked out. Add two cups of milk and nutmeg. Raise heat to medium and whisk occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Cook for 1 minute.


In a large bowl, mix together penne, ricotta, lemon zest and proscuitto. Add bechamel sauce. Salt and pepper to taste (keep it light).


Pour pasta mixture into prepared dish. Drizzle with lemon juice and top with bread crumbs and parmesan.


Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn up oven to broil to brown lightly.


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