Baked Pasta Roses with Ham and Cheese (Rosette al Forno)

Baked Pasta Roses, also known as Rosette al Forno, typically consist of rolled sheets of pasta filled with a combination of ingredients such as cheese, spinach or meat and then arranged in a baking dish to resemble roses.

These pasta “roses” are often topped with bechamel or tomato sauce and cheese before being baked until golden and bubbly.

I like to fill my rosettes with a good Italian prosciutto cotto (ham), fresh mozzarella, and Parmigiano Reggiano. And, of course, excellent homemade pasta and a delicate béchamel sauce.

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The Italian white sauce is the most popular for this recipe. It brings out the flavors of each ingredient. Bechamel and grated Parmigiano cheese form a delicious crust that makes the pasta crispy and more appetizing.

Making Baked Pasta Roses is not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. It is a recipe that you can make in less than 1/2 hour if you are using ready-made pasta, plus the 20 minutes for baking. Of course, if you use fresh homemade pasta, it will take a little longer. But it will definitely be worth it, believe me!

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With simple ingredients and a clear and detailed procedure, you’ll bring an irresistible and amazing dish to the table. Follow my tips and start making Baked Pasta Roses with Ham and Cheese for your guests!


  • Prep Time: 20 Min (if you make fresh pasta you need 1/2 hour more)
  • Cook Time: 20 Min
  • Servings: 6

Doses for a 13×9 inch lasagna pan

For Lasagna

  • About 6-8 lasagna: you can make fresh homemade lasagna following our step by step recipe: here you can find out how to make Italian Homemade Pasta
  • Or you can buy authentic Italian egg Lasagna

The Bèchamel Sauce

  • 500 ml (~2 cups) of fresh whole milk
  • 50 g (1.8 oz – ~1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 50 g (1.8 oz – 1/3 cup) of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg

For Prosciutto and Mozzarella Filling

Baked Pasta Roses Recipe: Instructions

The Bechamel Sauce

bechamel recipe step 1

Step 1) – In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour with the help of a flour sieve: in this way you are sure that there are no lumps. Mix quickly with a whisk, until the mixture is smooth. The mixture of butter and flour is called roux and it should be a nice golden color.

bechamel recipe step 2

Step 2) – Meanwhile heat the milk, without bringing to a boil. Pour the milk slowly over the roux, while stirring with a whisk. Season with salt and grated nutmeg.

Put the saucepan back on low heat. Keep mixing constantly, until you have a fairly thick consistency for about 10/15 minutes. The sauce is ready when it sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside.

For more information and tips about making Italian white sauce, readbechamel sauce recipe.

Cook the Pasta Sheets

Whether you bought them or made them at home, the fresh pasta sheets must be cooked for this recipe. If you don’t cook them, you won’t be able to roll them, they’ll break, or they’ll stay raw while cooking.

baked pasta roses step 1 B

Step 1) – Put a pot of lightly salted water on the heat and add a drizzle of oil. When it comes to a boil, drop the pasta sheets in, one at a time. Cook for only 20 seconds. Drain and place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.

baked pasta roses step 2

Step 2) – Meanwhile, dice the mozzarella. Then combine three or four lasagna sheets by overlapping them slightly. This will create a single rectangle of lasagna sheet.

If the pasta gets too dry, moisten the edges with a little hot water to help the sheets stick together. You should get two rectangles about 35×20 cm (~14×8 inches) with the amounts above.

PLEASE NOTE: – If you are making fresh homemade pasta and are skilled with a rolling pin, you can of course make one large thin rectangle.

Make the Pasta Roses

baked pasta roses step 3

Step 3) – Place the slices of cooked ham on the rectangle of pasta. Then add the mozzarella cubes.

IMPORTANT: Leave at least 1 cm (~ 1/2 inch) around the edges to prevent the filling from leaking out when you roll the dough onto itself.

baked pasta roses step 4

Step 4) – Gently roll the filled pasta onto itself from the longest side. This will create a cylinder.

baked pasta roses step 5

Step 5) – Using a well-sharpened knife, cut the resulting roll to about 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) thick.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Arrange the filled roses side by side on the baking dish.

The Baking

baked pasta roses step 6

Step 6) – Cover with plenty of béchamel sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano cheese. Add a few knobs of butter.

baked pasta roses step 7

Step 7) – Bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.

Remove the rosette al forno from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the ingredients to combine a bit. Enjoy them while they are still hot and stringy.

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To keep the pasta roses at their best, I recommend wrapping the pan in plastic wrap (when cold!) and storing in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Is it Possible to Make Pasta Roses Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare Pasta Roses in advance and store them in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. When it is time to serve, simply bake according to the recipe instructions.

Can I Freeze Pasta Roses?

Yes, they freeze very well. You can freeze them either raw or already cooked, making sure to separate them with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. To bake, you can defrost them in the refrigerator for a few hours and then bake according to the recipe.

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Baked Pasta Roses: Some Variations

The version “in bianco” (white, i.e. without tomatoes) is the one most often used for this recipe. Pasta roses are a typical dish for holidays and important occasions, and the white version is more elegant and delicate.

  • MUSHROOMS: Very often I add a layer of mushrooms, previously steamed in a pan, to the recipe I have shown you.
  • BOLOGNESE: Of course, the red versions with bolognese sauce or tomato sauce are also very tasty.
  • RICOTTA AND SPINACH: Another very popular variation is to fill your pasta roses with ricotta and spinach, like the classic ricotta and spinach ravioli. Once the pasta is placed in the oven dish, it can be topped with béchamel sauce and grated Parmigiano Reggiano or tomato sauce.
  • VEGETARIAN: To prepare a vegetarian version of the Pasta Roses recipe, you can leave out the ham and replace it with grilled or sautéed vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, peppers or mushrooms.
  • BECHAMEL: In any variation, white or with tomato, vegetarian or not, the use of béchamel sauce is essential. In fact, its creaminess completes the recipe by gently blending all the ingredients.
  • CHEESES: The classic cheese used in baked pasta roses recipe is mozzarella. Also common in Emilia Romagna is stracchino, a soft, creamy cheese that goes well with ham. You can also experiment with other cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Scamorza or Taleggio. You can also use smoked cheeses to give the dish a more intense flavor, depending on your personal taste.

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Different Names, Same Recipe

The history of pasta roses is rooted in the culinary tradition of Emilia-Romagna. In this region, baked pasta roses are often called Rosette al Forno or Nidi di Rondine (swallow’s nests).

To some they resemble roses, to others they resemble nests. Hence the different names. But the recipe is the same.

This dish was born from the skill and imagination of fresh pasta artisans. They were able to combine the delicacy of egg pasta with the unmistakable taste of the local prosciutto cotto and the Italian cheese by definition: mozzarella.

The recipe for Baked Pasta Roses has been handed down from generation to generation and has become one of the symbols of Emilian cuisine, on a par with lasagna and tortellini.

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