Capellini Gratin

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I attribute this crispy, rich pasta preparation to George Germon from Al Forno in Providence. Rhode Island, who, along with his wonderful wife and partner, Johanne Killeen, so impressed us during the few days they spent in our kitchen years ago. This simple dish is true to their pure, uncomplicated cooking style. We bake this gratin in a shallow half sheet pan, approximately 12 by 17 inches and 1 inch deep. You could use a smaller, deeper pan, but I like this when it’s thin and crisp; otherwise, it becomes a bit too dense and rich. Sheet pans, both full size and half size—which are about the size of a jelly-roll pan—are the workhorses of a professional kitchen, and half sheet pans are a great item to have at home (full sheet pans are too large for most home ovens). Find them at your local kitchenware or restaurant supply store. Those less concerned with their waistlines may choose to up the richness ante by adding another quarter cup of heavy cream. Serve the gratin with roasted or grilled meats or by itself.

To Drink: A rustic, fruity red such as Primitivo

Serves8 to 12 as a side dish

Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentbaking/gratin dish

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturebubbly, buttery, cheesy, creamy, crisp, rich, savory

Type of Dishgratin


  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound capellini
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-by-17-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan) with the butter.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain it, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.

Combine the cream and ¾ cup of the Parmigiano in a large bowl. Add the pasta and enough of the reserved pasta water to loosen the consistency slightly. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to thoroughly combine. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading the pasta out evenly. Scatter the remaining ¾ cup Parmigiano over the top.

Bake until golden and crisp around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes (use the convection mode if that is an option). Let the gratin cool for 5 to 10 minutes to set up, then cut into 8 to 12 rectangles.



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