My dear friend George is a remarkably intelligent, molecular biologist-turned-investment banker living in New York City. Locally, these qualities make him “keenly observant, intensely discerning, and exceedingly articulate.” Outside of New York, however, he might be summed up as “highly opinionated.” As a faithful Sunday Pasta reader and an old friend, I certainly do value his input. So when he recently declared that I “use pancetta in all my recipes,” I winced and then pointed out that I had used it only once in the last three months, and that well over half of my recipes are vegetarian or easily made so.
Still, I took his comments to heart, and so this week I decided to add prosciutto instead of pancetta to my baked Maccheroni ai Quattro Formaggi. (For the non-carnivorous out there, this recipe is also quite tasty without the prosciutto; just add a bit of salt to the cheese mixture.) As for which cheeses you use, mix and match, use your favorites. You can’t go wrong… even though George might have something to say about that…
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter into the heavy cream. Once the butter is melted, add the other cheeses and stir until they are melted together. Add in the pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for half of the package's recommended cooking time. Drain the pasta and add to the cheese mixture. Add the prosciutto and immediately transfer to a baking dish. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, and broil for the last few minutes until the top browns. Serve immediately.
Ed Garrubbo, Editor