Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tagliatelle Gratinati Al Prosciutto

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This is the perfect Friday night dinner to enjoy while watching the Games.  Simple, easy to make and delicious.  You can even make it between commercials.  It comes from my favorite restaurant in Venice, Harry's Bar. where the pastas are the best and  the most expensive on the planet.  It is one of their most popular dishes on the menu.

I will never forget my last visit to Harry's about ten years ago when lunch for four was over $500, and it was my invitation.  Two rounds of Bellinis, two beers, three pastas, one Osso Bucco, green salads and four espressos.  Yes, siree, I will never forget that lunch;  although the company, and the occasion, made up for the dent in my wallet. Since then, I have decided to get their cookbook and enjoy my favorite dishes for a fraction of their price, in the comfort of my home.  I know, it's not the same, but neither is my income these days.

The cooking time for the pasta is for dried egg pasta like tagliolini or tagliatelle.  Just cook until al dente. Harry's Bar makes its own pasta and the cooking time shown in their cookbook is for fresh tagliolini.  Also, careful with the salt, remember the prosciutto is quite salty.  For the recipe, click below

Tagliolini Gratinati al Prosciutto
Serves 4 

This dish is one of the few combinations of French and Italian cuisines on our menu.  The pasta and the ham are Italian; the sauce and the cooking method are French.  It has become a classic of Harry’s Bar because everybody likes it so much

7 tbsp. butter
1⁄4 cup flour
2 cups hot milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 oz. or 1/2 cup prosciutto, cut into julienne strips
3⁄4 lb. dried egg tagliolini or tagliatelle (I used tagliatelle)
1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, make a béchamel sauce by melting 4 tbsp. of the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually whisk in milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper, return pan to medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and smooth, 5–7 minutes. Remove pan from heat, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of sauce (to keep a skin from forming), and set aside.

2. Preheat broiler and set rack about 4" from the heat. Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and crispy, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking very slowly while pasta cooks.

3. Season boiling water generously with salt, add pasta, and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta, then add to skillet containing prosciutto. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter and 1⁄4 cup of the parmigiano-reggiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to mix well.

4. Spoon pasta into a 2-quart baking dish and tamp it down lightly with the back of a spoon so that its surface is even. Spoon béchamel over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano. Cut remaining 1 tbsp. butter into small pieces and scatter over top. Place dish in oven and broil until golden and bubbling, 2–3 minutes. I had to broil mine longer, about 5 minutes.  It all depends on your oven and the temperature of your broiler.

Serve with additional parmigiano-reggiano at the table, if you like.


  1. I think a memory like that is worth $500. I wish I'd done it when I was in Venice because who knows if I'll ever get back there? Thanks for this recipe, I will make it tonight!

  2. This sounds delicious! Your story reminds me of my lunch in St. Tropez.. 2 salads nicoise,2 glasses of wine, raspberries & cream for desert...$300.00

  3. And that $500.00 would be closer to $700.00 now, ten years later, don't you think?

  4. This sure looks yummy. Gotta try it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Carol,

    I have told that story so many times it was almost worth it.


    I shudder to think. I have read they keep their prices high to avoid the tourist trade. There may be something to it as this was the first time I called directly instead of having the Gritti or the Danielli make the reservation. Before that lunch I thought the prices were reasonable and couldn't understand why everyone complained. Still it is the best food in Venice.


    I don't know, I think yours was worse, relatively speaking!

  6. Claudette,

    It is as good as I remember.

  7. Haven't been to Venice, but my husband and I had an almost $1000 dinner in San Francisco!

  8. home,

    it must have been the wine no?....


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