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Risotto Style Pasta with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato

Risotto Style Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

When you think of risotto, you probably think of a creamy cooked rice dish, right? Always rice. But did you know you can make risotto out of just about anything that will absorb liquid. Say, barley. (It’s delicious. You should try it!) Or, pasta. You heard me… pasta.

It’s brilliant, really. I mean, who needs a huge pot full of water any way? You can just as easily make a delicious and extra-flavorful pasta with as little as 4 cups of liquid. And if you use a homemade or high quality chicken broth instead of water, guess where all that extra flavor goes? Yep, straight into your pasta. It’s truly an amazing thing.

Here’s one recipe where you shouldn’t follow our example, however. We used a baby farfalle pasta this time, and while it’s pretty, it isn’t particularly suited to the risotto-style of cooking. The little ‘pinch’ of dough in the middle of the noodle didn’t fully cook, even after we used well over the required 4 cups of broth. Still crunchy. We decided that a pasta shape that is more uniform, with no pinches (such as penne, fusilli, or gemelli) would be a far better choice. Learn from our mistake and your risotto will be all the better.

This recipe is incredibly flexible too. Use it as a base and go crazy. While we chose to add sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese, you could use any add-ins you’d like. How about asparagus, spring peas, and parmesan? Cherry tomatoes and roasted eggplant? Chicken and mushrooms? The possibilities are endless.

Risotto Style Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups good quality chicken stock
1/4 cup Madiera wine (or use white wine)
16 oz small cut pasta (such as penne or gemelli)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 oz goat cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until onions are slightly translucent and garlic is fragrant (but not burnt), about 5-6 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine. Stir until liquid is mostly absorbed.

Add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. When liquid is just about absorbed, add more. Continue with remaining broth. After about 10 minutes, test the pasta. You want it to be slightly al-dente with still a little bit of a crunch. If it is still undercooked, add additional liquid (broth or water), 1/4 cup at a time, until done. Stir in sundried tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among plates. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

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20 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

    this is such a great cooking method. i’ve been using penne recently, but spaghetti works wonderfully, as well. your recipe sounds and looks fantastic!

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I’ve been reading about the absorption method for cooking pasta. It sounds like a great way to produce a flavorful sauce with a creamy texture, as well as saving energy (by not boiling and tossing a lot of extra water).

    I also love that tender vegetables like asparagus will cook perfectly in the last few minutes of cooking the pasta. Though I must admit that sautéed mushrooms with thyme and rosemary make my favorite risotto combo!

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 10:15 am

    That is such a clever idea, this is the first time I have heard of it. I would pretty much go for the same toppings :)

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I love cooking orzo like this…it actually comes out tasting just like risotto since the shape and texture is kind of similar. I love the sun-dried tomato/goat cheese mix. Fantastic idea for toppings!

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Have you tried using a good vegetable stock instead of chicken stock for any of your recipes? I’m curious to know if it’s omnivore-approved.

    I’m a big fan of goat cheese and sundried tomatoes with pasta, though I like to throw in some fresh tomatoes and basil, too (when available).

    Reply

    • Posted On May 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      We haven’t made it with veggie stock, but I’m sure if you used a homemade or good quality one it’d be plenty delicious! :) I mean, any sort of broth is going to give you more flavor than plain old boiled pasta, right? If you try it let me know how it turns out. :)

  6. 6
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    looks great! i like the ‘out of the (rissotto’ box’ idea`

    Reply

  7. 7
    Becca
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I make a one pot pasta dinner using this method with browned chicken sausage, sauteed onion, spaghetti, and greens (spinach, chard, kale, whatever). I cook it in chicken broth and at the end throw in 1/2 cup of milk or half and half along with 1/2 cup parm. Makes the most delicious creamy sauce ever!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On May 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Wow, I never thought of using this technique on anything other than rice. I’m super excited to try it!

    Reply

  9. 9
    Simone
    Posted On May 2, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Well however it tasted (crunchy or not) it sure looks great and I love the flavor combinations!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On May 3, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Farfalle are always difficult to cook, even in the traditional way. That little pinch of dough tends to stay tough long after the rest of the noodle is cooked, which drives me crazy. Small cuts of pasta would probably be ideal for this recipe… I like to use orzo, which is shaped like rice and make the mock risotto look even more like the original!

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On May 3, 2010 at 7:48 am

    This looks so good! Simple and yummy!

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On May 4, 2010 at 3:13 am

    One of my favorite recipes! When I saw Mark Bittman’s post on the NY Times, this was exactly the combination that I ended up using. We use a few red pepper flakes to “kick it up a notch”, but it’s a favorite in our household. I’ve started to call it pastotto just because that’s fun to say.

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On May 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    This looks really good and simple to make! I can’t wait to try it out soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  14. 14
    TheSugarPuff
    Posted On May 10, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for providing this new cooking method! I only had red wine on hand so I poured a 1/4 cup in at the beginning, which gave the pasta stronger flavor. Also tossed in some fresh spinach at the end – very yummy :)

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On May 11, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I’ve tried absorbtion pasta before with only so-so results, but I’ve seen multiple people rave about cooking pasta this way. I think I need to give it another shot. I do agree you can do so many different flavor add ins with this recipe, which I really like.

    Also, I”m glad to hear you guys are ok and weren’t affected by the flooding. Scary!

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On May 20, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Love this way of cooking pasta, looks fun. I will have to try it. thanks!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Lauren
    Posted On May 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I was really excited to try this. Unfortunately my boyfriend and I were not very impressed with the results. I anticipated a much creamier pasta. Pretty blah.

    Reply

  18. 18
    Tonto
    Posted On June 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Hey, thanks for the recipe! I did a search for something involving pasta, olive oil and goat cheese and you were near the top. Loved the idea of the risotto past and the suggestion in the comments that there was a Bittman article about it was confidence inducing. Really glad for this tip and made a bunch of additions that I thought I’d share back. So here’s what I used due to the ingredients we had on hand and what I found at the store, as I thought I’d buy thyme and rosemary per a commentor’s suggestion::

    1) Package of organic mushroom broth – 32 oz.
    2) 1 box Ronzoni Healthy Harvest 7-grain blend pasta
    3) 2/3 lb very fresh bright collard greens
    4) 1/2 regular package baby bella/porcini mushrooms
    5) A touch of chiffonaded high quality prosciutto on the side.
    No sundried tomatoes, no wine

    Started the collard greens first, washed in a sink full of water, cut off the hard ends, separated the stems from leaves, chiffonaded the leaves and cut the chiffs in half. Chopped the stems and started them in boiling water for 10 minutes, 1 bay leaf and 1 smashed garlic clove.

    Sauteed the onion in an enormous French pan, added the garlic later as I always burn it otherwise. Added the pasta per instructions and stirred. Added the first 1/2 cup of mushroom broth.

    Added the collard green leaves to the boiling stems.

    Was a bit unclear on if I should plan to use the entire 32 oz container of broth. The recipe calls for 32 oz but then says to check the pasta after 10 minutes, perhaps implying I should have used it all by then and should go to extra broth or water if necessary. I can’t imagine going through all 32 oz in 10 minutes using this method. So maybe it is intended to state that however much I used after 10 minutes, I should check then. At any rate, it wasn’t nearly done in 10 minutes and I still had half my broth.

    Added leaves from one sprig rosemary ground in spice grinder, and leaves of 5 sticks thyme minced.

    Kept happily adding broth until the pasta got close to soft., test the collard greens for doneness and added them to the pasta with a slotted spoon. Realized I could use some of the “pot liquor’ from the greens for liquid too. Stirred that all up and let it cook until most liquid was gone. Removed bay leaf and garlic from greens during this process.

    Added a little sea salt and fresh pepper just for the heck of it, seemed it could use a little salt even though the broth was salted and the cheese would be salty but could easily have done without.

    Put into bowls, added dollops of goat cheese and put thin pieces of prosciutto on the side for those who wanted it, since up until then it was vegetarian. Fantastic and loved by all. Would have been awesome with artichoke hearts too. Thanks again.

    Reply

  19. 19
    Tonto
    Posted On June 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Wow that came out really long, sorry, didn’t know that was so long. Anyway I can’t see a reason for this to ever come out crispy, it was as soft as you could want. Bon Appetit.

    Reply

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