Pasta Risotto – Absorption Method to Cook Pasta
This is an unusual method for cooking spaghetti. To make this dish, the pasta is broken up in bits and is put uncooked in the sauce. The broth is then added ladle by ladle over the pasta until it is cooked. As the spaghetti cooks, it releases starches to make a thick sauce. This is the French method for making risotto called, “Absorption Paste”. The pasta absorbs all the flavor from the sauce while remaining tender with some bite. Spaghetti risotto is so much quicker to make than traditional risotto. Tip: Break your spaghetti inside a zip lock bag so the all the pieces are contained in the bag. This helps keep mess to a minimum.
When done, the pasta coloring is darker and the it tastes rich and very flavorful after absorbing up all the broth. This recipe also uses shiitake mushrooms which adds an additional element of complexity with it’s natural nutty flavor. Be brave and try a few of your favorites to add variation like, cilantro or nuts.
Spaghetti Risotto with Baby Spinach and Mushrooms, the recipe, comments, and photos were shared with me by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA.
- 1 package dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water for 30 minutes
- 1 cup white mushrooms, fresh, sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely-chopped
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound spaghetti pasta, strands broken into thirds
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Additional hot water, if needed
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly-grated
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Drain shitakes mushroom of water, gently squeeze the water out, remove the stems, and slice into medium-thick slices. Wipe off any dirt from the white mushrooms and slice into medium-thick slices. Set mushrooms aside.
Heat a medium-size frying pan or sauté pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until almost soft. Add garlic and saute few additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add broken spaghetti pieces and toast, tossing several times while toasting, approximately 6 to 7 minutes or until they turn golden in color and smell nutty. Stir in wine and let cook, stirring, until the wine is almost evaporated.
Ladle in chicken stock every few minutes, stirring for a minute with each addition of chicken stock. Evaporate almost all of the liquid before each addition of chicken stock. NOTE: You may need to use additional hot water to continue until the pasta is al dente. When you are down to the last ladle of chicken stock or water needed, stir in the prepared mushrooms and continue cooking.
After a few minutes, check your pasta. If it is al dente (refers to pasta that is cooked just long enough that it is neither crunchy nor too soft), stir in butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, spinach leaves, and lemon juice. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Toss well and serve.