Recipe: Parma Ham and Fennel Pasta Bake
We love parma ham for adding an upmarket twist to picnics, pasta bakes and summer sandwiches. Here is a family friendly recipe that costs less than £10 to make and uses mostly kitchen staples you should already have in the cupboard.
Parma Ham and Fennel Pasta Bake
For the bake:
80g Unsalted butter
2 Fennel (approx. 700g), trimmed and diced
2 tsp Fennel seeds
45g Plain flour
100ml Dry white wine
450ml Whole milk
250g Dry egg tagliatelle, lightly broken.
80g Parma Ham, thinly sliced
40g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
Salt & Pepper
Freshly-ground black pepper
Melt 35g of butter in a pan, add 4 tbsp of water, the diced fennel, the fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Braise with the lid on for approximately 10 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, make the white sauce by melting 45g of butter and adding the flour. Mix together to form a roux and cook on a low heat for 3 mins, stirring continuously.
Add the wine and work into the roux, ensuring it stays smooth.
Add the milk in five separate stages, each time stirring into the roux and ensuring there are no lumps before adding more.
Once all the milk is added, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the fennel and continue cooking over a low heat.
Cook the pasta in salted water for half the time recommended on the packet. Drain, reserving a mug of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the white sauce and fennel mix.
Tear the slices of Parma Ham into a few strips and fold into the mix.
Add approximately 160g of pasta water to loosen.
Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake at 200˚c for approximately 15 minutes until it is golden brown on top. Garnish with finely-chopped fennel fronds.
Serve alongside a green salad.
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