Alessio’s Baked Fusilli with Artichokes, Fusilli Con Carciofi E Formaggio

Alessio's Baked Fusilli with Artichokes & Cheese

Alessio’s Baked Fusilli with Artichokes & Cheese

Baked pasta is a universe, and though Lasagna is what comes to mind first, there are a great many other options. Artichokes, for example, work very well with a creamy cheese sauce, and when baked with a chunky “tubular” pasta such as fusilli yield an extremely tasty dish. This was prepared by chef Alessio Pesucci of the Locanda del Gallo, in Chiocchio, not far from Florence.

To serve 5:

  •  3/4 pound (about 350 g) corkscrews or similar short pasta
  • 6 artichokes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A clove of garlic, crushed but left whole
  • 1 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsely

** For the Bechamel Sauce **

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk, cold
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (no more)

** To Assemble the Dish **

  • 5 individual portion baking dishes of the sort shown above
  • Butter for buttering the dishes and to dot over the pasta
  • Another 3/4 cup Parmigiano, with which to dust the pasta before baking it

Set a pot of pasta water to boil; when it does salt it and cook the pasta.

In the meantime, clean the artichokes (see instructions if need be), and slice them and their stems.

Heat the oil in a saucepan large enough to contain the artichokes, and saute the garlic over a medium flame until it becomes golden. Remove and discard it, and add the artichokes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the bechamel sauce by heating the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and simmer the mixture, stirring, until it becomes golden. Add the milk in a quick stream, stirring constantly, and then the nutmeg, and once the sauce thickens simmer it over a gentle flame while stirring gently for about 5 minutes, or until it thickens.

At this point preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C).

By now the pasta should be cooked. Drain it and turn it into a bowl. Add to it the artichokes, bechamel sauce, grated Parmigiano, and parsley. Check seasoning and mix well. Butter the baking dishes and divide the pasta evenly between them. Dot the pasta with a little more butter, sprinkle grated cheese over it, and bake the pasta for 10 minutes.

Serve at once, and I would probably go with a white wine here, for example a Vermentino dei Colli di Luni.


Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Baked Pasta

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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