I've never made pasta this way before--by cooking it in a measured amount of liquid until the pasta absorbs enough to become tender, so I wasn't sure if it would turn out. I was worried that the pasta might be gummy. It wasn't; it was cooked perfectly and so flavorful because of the broth. You want to use a very good vegetable broth for this--homemade if possible, or a high quality organic broth from the store.
Pasta with Carrots, Risotto Style
**adapted from Saveur Magazine
8 cups of vegetable broth/stock
5 tablespoons of butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 lb. mini-penne pasta
8 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
salt and pepper
parsley to garnish
Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low to keep stock hot.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and carrots and cook, stirring often, until pasta is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the hot stock at a time to the pasta, stirring constantly; wait until almost all the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking and adding stock (you may have some stock left over) until pasta is tender but firm to the bite, 10-15 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with parsley. Serve with extra cheese.
This pasta is one of Dave's favorite non-dessert recipes. I am thinking about making it again but using a variety of different veggies--summer squash would be a lovely addition.