Penne Pasta alla Valdostana from the Aosta Valley

Penne Pasta alla Valdostana, recipe from the Aosta Valley.

This creamy cheesy pasta alla Valdostana recipe comes from the Aosta Valley in Northern Italy.This region is famous for its cheese, especially Fontina.  Most ‘alla Valdostana’ recipes are made with Fontina which is a super melting cheese used in many dishes including Italian fondue.

(Click to go straight to recipe)

Penne pasta alla Valdostana in a blue and white bowl

When you see a menu item described as ‘alla valdostana’ in Italy, chances are it’s going to include Fontina cheese and very often ham or mushrooms. Fontina has been made in the Aosta Valley since the 12th century and is traditionally produced with unpasteurized cow’s milk from a single milking. This cheese has a high fat content because it’s usually made with milk from cows which are grazing on flower-filled mountain pastures during the summer! But that’s what makes it melt so well.

Penne pasta alla Valdostana ingredients

Italians use Fontina for their fondue, which they call ‘fonduta’. Although Italian fonduta also contains butter and cream, which are not usually added to Swiss fondue. So this pasta alla Valdostana recipe is really pasta in cheese fondue with ham and it is totally divine!

Penne pasta alla Valdostana baked in white oven dishes

Other alla Valdostana dishes.

Apart from pasta, there are many dishes called ‘alla Valdostana’. These include chicken breast, veal scallops, steak, risotto and crespelle (Italian crepes).  Recipes with chicken or meat usually also contain ham. A bit like the French cordon bleu! So we could also call this dish pasta cordon bleu!!

Penne pasta alla Valdostana sauce ingredients in pan

Of course, it’s best to use Fontina cheese but if you can’t find it, Gruyère, provolone, Gouda, or Emmental should work well instead. Italian Fontina has a gentle buttery, nutty flavor and is slightly more pungent than Fontina made in the U.S., France, or other regions of Italy. But, wherever it comes from it’s usually a fabulous melting cheese.

A very quick and simple pasta recipe

This recipe is super simple to make and has only a few ingredients. It can be ready in 30 minutes. While you boil the water and cook the pasta, just melt some butter in a frying pan or skillet and add the cheese and cream. Once the cheese has melted add small pieces of ham! Drain the pasta add it to the sauce. A little pepper and if you like it, nutmeg, and your dish is ready.

Penne pasta alla Valdostana sauce ingredients in pan

I sometimes serve it immediately or I bake it with some grated Parmesan on top. Both ways are delicious and baking is a fab way to use up leftovers! I made this recipe with penne but of course most types of short pasta would work well, so you can also use rigatoni, elicoidale, radiatori or farfalle to name a few!

I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try this recipe. Please leave a comment here on the blog at the bottom of the recipe page or on the Pasta Project Facebook page. Your feedback means a lot to me.

Buon appetito!

(See the recipe on the next page. Just scroll down and click 2)

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  • Avatar
    March 19, 2018 7:00 pm

    I never saw Fontina in our market but Cheese mixed on any pasta is always our favorite. Thanks for sharing.

    • admin
      March 22, 2018 8:22 am

      Thank you Melve! Fontina is a fabulous cheese for melting but you can also make this recipe with other good melting cheeses like Gruyère. I agree cheesy pasta is wonderful! Salute! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Amanda Wren-Grimwood
    March 19, 2018 2:00 pm

    I would love to try Fontina but I’ve never seen it locally in France. For me, any combination of cheese, ham and pasta is going to be a winner – so delicious!

    • admin
      March 22, 2018 8:26 am

      Grazie Amanada! Fontina (fontine in French) should be available in parts of France because it’s made just across the border! But you can also use Gruyère in this recipe. I’m sure it would be delish too! As you say cheese, ham and pasta, yum! Salute da Verona Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    March 19, 2018 1:16 pm

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous pasta recipe! I love that creamy sauce… can’t wait to try it.

    • admin
      March 22, 2018 8:27 am

      Thanks so much Julie! I’m happy you like this recipe. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy it if you make it! All the best from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    March 12, 2018 6:28 pm

    Fontina has been one of my favorite nibbling cheeses for a long time. And I love that it melts so beautifully. Your ham is exquisite!

    • admin
      March 14, 2018 12:01 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Mimi! Yes I’m a big fontina fan too! I love it in fondue as well! Yum! Salute Jacqui

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