Hearty Pasta Roses with Zucchini and Ham Casserole











Whip up a comforting and delicious Pasta Roses with Zucchini and Ham casserole in just 45 minutes. Combining the savory taste of ham, the freshness of zucchini, and the creaminess of béchamel sauce, this dish is perfect for a family dinner. It packs a nutritional punch too, with 674 calories and 40g of protein per serving.


Step 1: Preparing Zucchini Béchamel

Begin with the zucchini béchamel. Boil chopped zucchini until tender, then cool it in cold water. Drain and blend until smooth. Concurrently, warm milk and prepare a roux with butter and flour. Combine these with zucchini puree, stirring into a creamy sauce. A dash of nutmeg and Parmigiano-Reggiano elevates the flavors.
Pro Tip: For a smoother sauce, ensure no lumps by sieving.

Step 2: Pre-cooking Pasta

Softly pre-cook pasta sheets in boiling, salted water with a touch of oil. Remove after three minutes and cool in milk. This stops the cooking process and adds a slight richness to the pasta. Ensure the pasta is dry before proceeding with assembly.
Pro Tip: Drying pasta on clean tea towels prevents it from sticking together.

Step 3: Filling and Assembly

Spread a thin layer of béchamel on each pasta piece, followed by grated cheese. Add slices of ham and fontina cheese on top. Carefully roll the pasta into cylinders, cut to desired height, and place them cut side up in a buttered baking dish. For a delightful presentation, nick and spread 'petals' of pasta roses before baking.
Pro Tip: Arrange tightly in the dish to keep them upright during baking.

Step 4: Baking To Perfection

Drizzle the tops of the pasta roses with melted butter or brush with milk for a lighter option. Bake at 392°F for 30 minutes or until the tops are crisp and golden. This final step ensures a beautiful, golden crust that's irresistibly crispy.
Pro Tip: For an extra cheesy finish, sprinkle more grated cheese before baking.