If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I made a dish called “Pasta Risotto” on an unusually cool and wet weekend here in Santa Barbara. It was the perfect kind of weather to be in the kitchen cooking.
Like so many of the recipes I make, this was one given to me by my mom. She had cut it out of something and copied it, so I don’t know the source. If anyone does, please chime in! All I know for sure is that this is comfort food times 10! The kind of food that makes you warm and happy in the best possible way. My mom served this as a side at our last Easter brunch and of course I had to have the recipe! At first, I was frightened off by the word “risotto”, because I have had a few disasters in that area…lumpy, bumpy, unpalatable messes. I would never share a recipe with you that was difficult to make. This one is worth the time because it is just that good.
It is actually a faux risotto (it’s really macaroni mixed with cheese). It’s simple and quick to make, yet fancy enough to be served at your next dinner party.
Ingredients: (serves 2 as a main or 4-6 as a side)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (or less if like my hubby you don’t like onions)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 ¾ cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you are a vegetarian)
- 1 ⅓ cups tubetti (I use ditalini which is what my mom likes to use)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 ½ tablespoons mascarpone
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toss in onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Add pasta, stir it around, and let it cook at a steady simmer until it has absorbed almost all the broth, 20 to 25 minutes. (There should be just ¼ inch or less of liquid bubbling at the bottom of the pan.
2. Pour in cream and allow it to simmer for about 3 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Stir in Parmesan and mascarpone, cook for 1 minute, and taste for salt and pepper. I like to add some truffle salt for added deliciousness! Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
This can be served as a side dish to a roast of almost any kind, including chicken-think of it as a fancy macaroni and cheese-but it’s elegant enough to come out on its own as a starter or main dish. It can be eaten plain or with a dusting of parsley or a little more Parmesan. Of course if you have some truffles to grate over each portion, go for it!
I’ve made this ahead, and then simply reheated it in the oven and it was just as delicious!