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

View the complete recipe

35 comments:

mary f said...

shef john. can i break my own spigetti? looks very starchy, maybe boil the pasta, drain it, then cut it and add the rest of the ingrediants.

Chef John said...

No! Don't do it. That defeats the entire purpose of cooking the broth into the pasta! The starchiness is also part of the dish.

Steven said...

Hey Chef John, this looks good but I was hoping you were going to give us some advice on how to break spaghetti quickly.

Chef John said...

I'm really hoping they know enough not to snap one piece of spaghetti at a time! ;-)

(btw, if you don't... just grab about 1/4 of the box at a time and snap in half and then half again, and continue as small as possible.

Anonymous said...

Oh-my-goodness. Chef! I can think of about a million kinds of "stuff" to add to this dish (alone or in combo with each other)

If you know someone in college, tell them to forget the Ramen and use this recipe instead!

neha said...

Chef John! I would really like to see you make some vegan dishes using seitan or tempeh or tofu. or maybe all!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
Could this method be used to cook penne pasta or other pasta shapes?
Thanks

Vintage Dream said...

Hello Chef John,

I just love your pasta recipes, sooo yummy!! am definetly gonna try this broken spaghetti recipe ;) By the way, have you received my food wish concerning " Spaghetti nests"?I've tried to make'em on my own, but didn't work out...was hoping you could show me the trick of how to keep the spaghetti nest all together... Thnx in advance, love u my favorite chef :)

LynnieBNC said...

I've been doing this with orzo; it ain't risotto either, but it looks like it! haha! LOVE your videos!!!

rich said...

this looks real good....it reminds me of rice-a-roni.

Jo-Ann said...

This would be a great recipe for using orzo - that little rice-shaped pasta, I'm going to give this a try.

Anonymous said...

What a GREAT idea for pasta! I'm so gonna try this very soon. Thank you for this method.
jackie

Jeff said...

That spoon is too big! Where's the freakishly little one?? Oh, the "risotto" looks great btw.

XTeenuh said...

This looks a bit like Rice A Roni, except it looks totally delicious as well. Looking forward to trying this, as the main of a meal with some additions. So interesting!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of fried bee hoon. Except this dish is probably way more healthier!

Martin said...

This was great side dish.
I couldn't believe how fast this was to do from start to finish, and how many options this opens up for ingredients you can add to this.

Cindy Soo said...

Chef John, What name brand of salt do you use? It is very beautiful.

Cindy Soo said...

Chef John, What name brand of salt do you use? It is very beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Wow this is really good Chef John. I was feeling hungry and so many recipes called for ingredients i don't have! So happy to find your recipe for Risotto Pasta. I had everything on hand and boy did it come out amazing! Deceptively simple, amazingly delicious. :)

Guy said...

It's probably a stupid question, but do I need to multiply the amount of stock by the the number of spaghetti cups I'm preparing?
As you've said, it's a small dish and it would take quite an amount of stock to make it bigger.

sbarin21 said...

Hey Chef John, I'm trying to become a firefighter and as a part of that job, at times I'm responsible for cooking dinner. Now, I'm new to cooking so I was just wondering, if I were to use this as a main dish (along side with some chicken) how would I increase the measurements for about 6 to 7 people.

This meal looks easy enough to make, but I just need help with adjusting to the portions of each ingredient.

Thanks for the help!

Chef John said...

Just multiple everything by 4! Remember, the broth amount may vary, go by feel like I say in the video.

1Bigg_ER said...

Great side dish! served it with cornell chicken.
I cooked 2 cups of pasta and used a little over 3 cups of broth.
Used chipotle pepper instead of the red crushed peppers. Damn good!!!

Lisa Boban said...

Made this to go with steak tonight - followed the recipe exactly. It was amazing and my husband told me to "bookmark that recipe so you can make it again!". He NEVER does that.

Chef John said...

Happy to help!

Marans said...

If I were to add some shrimp, chicken, or veggies to this to make it a main dish, when would I add it so it would go well with the pasta?

Chef John said...

can't answer! depends on the meat, the size pieces, etc.

Anonymous said...

What about diced ham?

Chef John said...

Ham is cooked! Throw in any time!

Viacheslav Bogomazov said...

Made it 20 minutes ago. Add some chicken and more cheese. It was delicious! I did some photos of this risotto: http://bogomazon.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-post_14.html

Reem said...

I just made this recipe right now, and goodness, Chef John, I can't emphasize enough how great your recipes are! I'm in love with this recipe, as well as the garlic bread roll and many others. Thank you!

Linda said...

What a wonderful idea. I just happened to have about 1/4 of a box of cut spaghetti in my pantry that I didn't know what to do with and it equaled out to be exactly 1 cup! To make it a meal, I added frozen peas and a can of clams, using the clam juice as my broth. Fabulous!

K.Johnson said...

Roll the spaghetti tightly in a dish towel and firmly press against the counter edge every couple of inches to break. Fairly even pieces and nothing flies away. Can do up to two pounds of pasta at one time.

Very helpful blog, I would love to see other kid friendly ideas.

I would also like info. on your cookbook.

Isa Kirana said...

Hi Chef John!

Can I use beef stock instead of chicken stock?

Chef John said...

of course, it's your dinner! :)