Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Baked pasta roses from the repertoire of Nonna Sara

Baked pasta roses from the repertoire of Nonna Sara

Baked pasta roses, or rosette al forno, are filled with ham, cheese, and béchamel, then topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It is a typical dish from Modena.

In this recipe, I find many flavors of the Via Emilia: fresh egg pasta, rolled out on a cutting board with a rolling pin, thin and rough; a salume, in this case, cooked ham; and the ever-present sauce that accompanies so many dishes from my region, béchamel.
And then, of course, him, Mr. Parmigiano Reggiano.

Baking in the oven binds in a loving embrace the ingredients of the pasta roses that always put everyone, young and elder, at the table with a smile.

And yes, I know you find hundreds of recipes dedicated to Modenese pasta roses on the web, all different and all the same. At most, they differ a little in amounts.

But I think a recipe is never just a list of ingredients. It is also a sum of voices and images that combine to create a unique flavor. Each recipe tells a story, each one its own. I wrote mine.

I don’t know if I will have been able to convey the original voice of my baked pasta roses. You will be able to say it at the end of the reading (perhaps leaving a comment).

I know I will try to do it, and now I will explain why I am doing it.

Baked pasta roses from the repertoire of Nonna Sara

Pasta dough in Bologna

A new, old recipe from my repertoire

I have added a new, but I should say old, recipe to my cooking repertoire.
A collection that helps me stay connected to the significant people in my life.
What I cook tells about me, my family, and my cultural identity.

The dishes I prepare, which I share on the blog, are snapshots from my life, from experiences I have had, about family meals, and women who have played a role in my formation, and even from difficult times.

And I wish I could tell you that a plate of fragrant hot pasta solves everything, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it just makes the tears that stream from our eyes more copious and bitter, for the simple reason food evokes memories that we associate with events and people, and, in some cases, remembering is painful.

I know what that means. I put away the family cookbook with its precious haul of memories and did other things until I felt I was ready to turn those pages again.

It has been a long and complex process. How long does it take?
I couldn’t say. I think it’s a bit like in recipes by eye and as much as you need. At some point in your life, you will realize that you can take back flavors, scents, and memories without suffering (too much).

It’s a bit like cleaning artichokes. You shall discard the tough leaves and thorny tips before discovering its delicate shiny heart.

A recipe collection is a book about your life

Laurie Colwin has written, “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past.”

Whenever I reacquaint myself with a family recipe I have never cooked before that moment or haven’t eaten in decades, I hear all those voices Colwin writes about.
And I can see hands, white tablecloths, cutting boards, pasta sheets, potteries, and grandma trying to feed me with loving gestures and tricks. And then Aunt Iolanda, who winks at me. Again, my mother’s aunt, a severe woman with a mustache, offers me a fava dei morti cookie I don’t like but have to accept.
And I still could continue with foods I associate with facts, people, and images.

I give myself a big gift for reassembling this picture of memories before forgetting everything. And if I write on this food and memoir blog, it is to inspire you to cook.

Create a repertoire of recipes that speak of you, your family, generation after generation. Consolidate and transmit that heritage of flavors and feelings. As you do this, you are establishing an ideal bridge between the past, present, and future.

Choose a recipe within your reach or something you enjoy, and let yourself go.

If it evokes sad memories, cut out the bitter part and relish the beautiful one. If you don’t have as much experience, regardless of the outcome, it will be a way to honor the memory of those who are gone and nurture you with love. And to exercise.

Pasta dough in Bologna

Baked pasta roses recipe

Nonna Sara baked pasta roses

This dish brings me back memories of the flavor of Sunday lunches.

The preparation was and is marked by a series of steps.
It starts with béchamel sauce.
Then place grated Parmigiano in a bowl and ham on a plate.

The pasta dough on the cutting board is wide, yellow, and fragrant.
I see Grandma again cutting it in half with a pasta cutter.
Then she cooks the two parts separately in boiling salted water. Drain them and then lay them on a clean dishcloth. And that’s what I’m making, even if it is the first time I boil such a large piece of pasta sheet without first cutting it into rectangles.

My gestures follow a sequence of images that are still distinct, although so many years have passed.

And so I ended up being moved, but in a way that leaves no space for the melancholy of the past but only the happiness of having lived it.

I lay a thin layer of béchamel sauce on the pasta sheet, cover the surface with cooked ham, and add a personal touch that, to be honest, is part of the heritage of gastronomic memories I have inherited: I scatter slices of fat and flavorful prosciutto crudo here and there.

Again, I add a little béchamel sauce, spreading it well with a spoon, never mind making an even layer. I sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. I roll the pasta sheet on itself and cut slices about 2-3 cm wide.

I butter the baking dish and place the pasta roses filling all the bottom.
I add lots of butter flakes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

The oven is already hot. I have only to bake for about 20 minutes and serve.
And yes, that’s what they taste like. They are indeed Grandma Sara’s baked pasta roses.

Buona cucina, Monica

Reading note

I loved reading the interesting blog post my American friend Tina wrote. Here you can find the article and her recipe for pasta roses.

Baked pasta roses recipe

Baked pasta roses recipe

serves 4
List of the Ingredients

béchamel sauce

milk, one liter
flour 00, 100 g
butter, 100 g
salt and nutmeg to taste

pasta dough

00 flour, 300g
normal eggs, 3


béchamel sauce to taste
cooked ham, 200g
prosciutto crudo, 100g
fresh grated Parmigiano, 100g
butter, to taste


Béchamel sauce

In a saucepan, melt butter on a stove over low heat.
Turn off the stove and add salt, nutmeg, and flour.
Still, away from the heat, stir with a whisk to blend the ingredients without lumps forming.
Add milk, also cold, a little at a time.

Return the saucepan to the stove, medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, lower, and stir for a few minutes until the béchamel takes on the desired consistency. Turn off the stove and rub a small piece of butter on the surface to prevent a surface film from forming. Keep aside.

Pasta dough

Knead ingredients on a cutting board or in a planetary mixer.
Let the dough rest wrapped in a plastic bag and out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out a thin sheet.

Cut the pasta sheet in half, resulting in two large rectangles. Cook the two parts separately in salted water for a few minutes. Drain and lay the sheets on a clean tea towel.

Pasta roses

Spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on each side of the pasta sheet, cover with cooked ham, and arrange slices of prosciutto crudo here and there, not too close together. Add more béchamel sauce and spread it out. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Roll the sheet of dough on itself.
Cut into slices about 2 to 3 cm wide. Repeat the operation.

Arrange the rolls in a baking dish, as in the photo below, placing them side by side, leaving no spaces.

Add butter flakes on top, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and bake in preheated oven at 180C degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top of the pasta rosette is golden brown.

If you prepare the recipe the day before, reheat the rosettes by covering the baking sheet.

Baked pasta roses recipe

Baked pasta roses recipe

Leave a comment

© 2024 Tortellini&Co. All Rights Reserved.