Lasagna Valdostana Recipe from the Aosta Valley.
This simple but seriously delicious lasagna recipe comes from the Aosta Valley (Val d’Aosta) in Northern Italy. There are a couple of versions of lasagna Valdostana, one with tomatoes and one without. Italians often refer to pasta and pizza without tomatoes as ‘bianca’, meaning white. So this version is a lasagna bianca! In Italian, it’s called lasagne alla Valdostana.
What is ‘alla Valdostana’?
In Italy, when you see a recipe or dish described as ‘alla valdostana’, it most often includes Fontina cheese and ham, usually cooked ham. They have been making Fontina in the Aosta Valley since the 12th century.
This cheese is traditionally made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from a single milking. Fontina has a high fat content because the milk comes from cows grazing on flower-filled mountain pastures in the summer! That’s actually why it melts so well.
Italians use Fontina for fondue, which they call ‘fonduta’. However, Italian fonduta also often has butter and cream in it. These are not usually added to Swiss fondue. So, the white sauce for this lasagna Valdostana recipe is more like a cheese fondue. It is so yummy!
Apart from other pasta recipes like penne alla Valdostana, there are many other dishes called ‘alla Valdostana’. These include veal scallops, steak, chicken breast, risotto and crespelle (Italian crepes). Most of these recipes also contain ham. So, Valdostana is a bit like French cordon bleu! In fact, you could think of this recipe as a lasagna cordon bleu!!
Other cheeses for lasagna Valdostana?
Of course, it’s best to use Italian Fontina cheese to make this lasagna Valdostana. But, if you can’t find it, you can use Emmental, Gruyère, provolone or Gouda instead. What you need is a good melting cheese with a slightly pungent flavour. Italian Fontina has a gentle buttery, nutty flavor and is slightly stronger than Fontina made in France, the US or other regions of Italy. However, all types of Fontina are usually fabulous for melting.
I used dried lasagne sheets for this recipe but fresh or homemade would also be divine. Check out my post on homemade lasagne sheets if you want to make your own. The pasta I used for this lasagna alla Valdostana was sent to me by a company called Pasta Rigo.
This company produces durum wheat semolina egg pasta for other pasta companies and private labels. So, you can’t buy their pasta in supermarkets under their own label. But, you can buy it as a white-label product. Something I’ve been think about doing myself. I think The Pasta Project own label would be cool, don’t you?
I liked this lasagne because it didn’t need to be precooked, which is normally necessary with dried pasta. So, a great time saver. The important thing to remember when cooking with dried pasta is to make sure your sauce is quite liquid.
Most lasagna Valdostana recipes call for cooked ham, Italians say ‘prosciutto cotto’. However, I have also found versions of this recipe with pancetta. I think that would be delicious too.
Lasagne alla Valdostana is so simple!
This is a super simple lasagna recipe. Apart from the pasta, ham and Fontina, all you need is some grated Parmigiano or Grana cheese, milk, nutmeg and white wine. If you are using normal dried pasta, you will need to parboil the sheets first. Otherwise, fresh, homemade or fine dried lasagne sheets can be used without precooking.
Then just fry the ham and it with some white wine. Melt the fontina into the milk and add some nutmeg. Finally assemble and bake. Easy peasy!
If you do try this lasagna Valdostana recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
Other cheesy pasta recipes to check out
- Gnocchi alla Bava
- Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese
- Cheesey conchiglie pasta al forno
- Ham and cheese pasta bake
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