A few weeks ago I made this awesome beet risotto and it got me to thinking: would pasta work as a risotto? So I googled pasta risotto and found a bunch of recipes referencing one published in the New York Times. Again I’m not the first person who thinks of such brilliance. Sigh.
My recipe is based on the New York Times recipe. The dish reminds me a bit of a chicken stroganoff.
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 c. mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
- 1/2 lb cut pasta, like gemelli or penne, or long pasta broken into bits
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 3 to 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 boneless chicken thighs, cooked, diced
- 1/2 c. whipping cream
- 1/2 to 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan and/or romano cheese, optional
- Chopped fresh parsley, optional, for garnish
- Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften and begin to brown on edges. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then wine. Stir and let liquid bubble. Ladle stock into skillet 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition. When liquid is just about evaporated, add another ladleful. The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep heat at medium and stir frequently.
- Begin tasting pasta 10 minutes after you add it; you want it to be tender but with a tiny bit of crunch. When pasta is 3 or 4 minutes from being done, add chicken and whipping cream and stir to combine.
- Continue to cook until the pasta is desired tenderness. Add in cheese, if using. Taste, adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and additional cheese.
I used Orchiette pasta, as I had an open half bag on hand. I would not recommend using this type of pasta for risotto as it sticks together and takes seemingly longer to cook than normal pasta (even when cooking the traditional method). I’m guessing it took me about 25 to 30 minutes of stirring and adding more stock before the noodles were finally cooked – and my dad said they were still a bit crunchy or a bit less than al dente. I didn’t mind.
Despite the pasta choice snafu, this dish was a snap to make. Chop up your veggies and throw everything in a pan adding stock and stirring until done. You can easily make this vegetarian by omitting the meat and using a vegetable stock. Scrap the whipping cream and cheese if you want to take it a step further to make it vegan. The whipping cream was my own addition anyway. For those of you non-vegans reading this post, I will say that adding the cheese (I used both parmesan and romano) really brought the dish together in both taste and texture.