- 1 pound penne rigate or whole-wheat penne
- 1/4 pound pancetta, 3 to 4 slices thick cut like bacon
- 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Nutmeg, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups grated Romano
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, cook pasta to just shy of al dente.Chop pancetta into 1/4-inch dice.
While pasta cooks, heat a skillet and add pancetta. Cook until crispy then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Discard all but 1 Tbsp of the remaining fat then add celery, carrot, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add beans and heat them through. Stir in 1/2 cup wine, simmer 30 seconds more and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.
While vegetables cook, place a small sauce pot over medium heat, add butter, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce 4 to 5 minutes, stir in half the grated cheese, turn off heat and adjust seasoning.
Drain pasta and return to the pot, toss with white bean mixture and sauce, stir to coat, transfer to a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese. Cool and refrigerate.
The night you want to serve. Heat over to 350 and bake 30 minutes covered. Increase heat to 425, uncover to brown cheese (about 20 minutes additional).
Adpated based on an original recipe by: Rachael Ray