Friday, March 16, 2012

Broken Spaghetti “Risotto” – There’s a Good Reason for Those Quotation Marks

This broken spaghetti “risotto” is many things – a fun-to-make recipe; a visually unique pasta dish; and a great alternative to the same old starchy side dishes – but one thing it’s not, is a risotto. No rice was harmed in the making of this video.

The “risotto” refers to the similar technique used for that famous Italian dish. Like the grains of Arborio rice, the pieces of broken pasta are tossed in hot butter or oil before the liquid is added, but here we’re going even further, and toasting it to a gorgeous nut-brown.

This gives the dish its signature look, as well as adds a subtle nutty/toasty flavor. The rest of the process is similar to risotto as well, with the broth being added in increments, to be absorbed by the noodles before the next splash is added.

The broth amounts below should be very close to what you’ll need, but as I said in the video, depending on the pan, heat, and size of batch, you’ll have to simply adjust on the fly.

As long as you don’t walk away, you should be fine. Just keep stirring until the liquid is almost gone, then taste, and if the pasta is cooked, you’re done. If it needs more, add a little broth and keep going.

I did this as a simple side dish, but if you added some vegetables and shredded chicken, you’d be looking at quite an impressive main course. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see this dish re-imagined here in the future. In the meantime, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 small portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cut spaghetti, or regular spaghetti broken into very small pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
about 1 1/2 cups hot chicken broth or stock, as needed
salt and chili flakes to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste

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