Creamy Gruyère Baked Ziti with Prosciutto

  • 1 pound dried ziti or other tubular pasta
  • 10 ounces reduce fat Gruyère cheese (*you can also adjust the amount of cheese or use a less expensive blends of cheeses such as mozzarella and parmesan), grated through the large holes of a box grater (about 4 1/4 cups)
  • 1 quart *half & half (4 cups)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut widthwise into 1/2-inch-thick ribbons
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and reserve.
2. Meanwhile, pour heavy cream in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, add all but a handful of the cheese, and stir until melted. Add a pinch of nutmeg, stir in the pasta and prosciutto, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, softened butter, garlic, thyme, and cheese, and rub together with your fingers until evenly incorporated and no visible chunks of butter remain. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Transfer pasta mixture to a 2 1/2 – quart ceramic or glass casserole dish and top evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
5. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

*recipe has been modified from original version.