Some years back I heard about cooking pasta as you would risotto-ladling in hot broth, stirring and waiting in hopes of the pasta absorbing the liquid. I thought it was worth a try and I have a vague memory of it taking forever and in the end tossing the still crunchy pasta into the trash. When I saw this recipe in a recent Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal, I decided it was time to give this dish another go.
I’m fairly certain that in my first attempt I proceeded exactly as you would for risotto. This time I followed the recipe from the paper which actually calls for bringing all the broth to a boil and then adding the pasta and letting it simmer for about 20 minutes. There’s no ladling of broth little by little or constant stirring of the pasta. I had my doubts as to whether this was going to work, but lo and behold after the allotted time, most of the broth had disappeared and it was looking pretty good. A little bit of cream and some Italian cheese later and the dish I had been worrying over turned out to be the best thing I’ve made in a while.
I added some dried porcini mushrooms (that I had soaked) to the pasta, but as with risotto, any number of vegetables would make a great addition. I would call this comfort food-creamy, cheesy and very satisfying, yet not at all heavy. We ate this for dinner with a green salad, but it would be a nice side dish to a roasted chicken. One thing for sure, there won’t be any leftovers!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3-3/4 cups chicken broth
1-1/3 cups tubetti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3-1/2 tablespoons mascarpone
Melt the butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Toss in the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook stirring until soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta, stir it around and let it cook at a steady simmer until it has absorbed almost all of the broth, 20 to 25 minutes. There should be just 1/4″ of less of liquid left at the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the cream and allow it to simmer for about 3 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Stir in both cheeses and taste for salt and pepper (it should be generously peppered). Cover and let rest for 3 minutes and then serve.
My photo does not really do justice to this tasty pasta dish.