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Pasta for Dessert

Pasta has been one of Italy’s favorite dishes for centuries, so it’s no surprise that Italian chefs have found a way to incorporate it into every meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. Pasta desserts have been around in Italy since the Renaissance, when pasta was a luxury food served topped with sugar, grated nutmeg and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

There are dozens of fabulous Italian desserts made with pasta, from crunchy-chewy chocolate pasta pie popular in Bologna to fried angel hair pasta topped with honey and pistachios in Sicily. There are also dozens of dessert ravioli that are baked and filled with everything from chickpeas sweetened with jam and chocolate to sweet ricotta fillings.

For a delicious pasta dessert, try any of our recipes below. Whether you desire something rich and filling or light and refreshing, there is something to satisfy ever pallet. Pair with espresso or amaretto and enjoy.

Pasta Fritta alla Siciliana (Sweet Sicilian Fried Pasta)

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 lb angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp finely minced candied orange peel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pistachios, very finely crushed
  • Ground cinnamon

Preparation
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the honey and candied orange peel.

Put about 1/4 inch of oil in a small frying pan and heat until hot, but not smoking. Twirl small forkfuls of the pasta, drop them into the hot oil, and cook until golden and crisp at the edges. Turn, and cook on the other side for just a few seconds. Drain the pasta crisps on a plate lined with paper towels. Arrange the pasta crisps on serving plate. Serve warm, drizzled with the honey mixture and topped with a sprinkle of pistachios and cinnamon.

Torta Ricciolina (Chocolate Pasta Pie)

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Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust, store bought or homemade
  • 8 oz fresh thin egg-pasta, such as tagliatelline or angel hair
  • 1 1/2 cups, whole blanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp butter, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup rum

Preparation
Grind the almonds and sugar in a food processor until it resembles coarse sand. Pulse in the zest, candied citron or orange peel, and cocoa powder until well combined.  Divide into 3 parts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 or 10-in pie pan with the pie crust. Pot lots of holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork.

Divide the pasta into 3 parts, with one part being slightly larger than the other two.

Line the pie pan with the larger portion of pasta and sprinkle with 1/3 of the almond mixture. Lift the pasta with the tip of a knife so it loose and free form. Do not press the pasta down. Dot the pasta with thin slices of the butter.

Top with another layer of pasta sprinkled with a third of the almond mixture and more butter. Repeat for a third and final layer.

Loosely cover with aluminum foil, bake for 25 min, then remove the foil and continue baking uncovered for another 20-25 min until the top is golden and the center set.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the top of the pie with the rum. It will hiss and absorb quickly, with most of the alcohol evaporating, leaving just a lovely aroma and flavor.

Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve, preferably after its rested overnight or for 24 hours, topped with confectioners’ sugar.

Chocolate Pasta with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Sauce

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Ingredients:

Chocolate Pasta:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 pints raspberries, for garnish
  • Creme fraiche, for garnish
  • White chocolate shavings, for garnish
  • Chopped skinless, toasted hazelnuts, for garnish

Preparation
For the pasta: Sift together the flour, cocoa and sugar. Add a pinch salt and mound the flour mixture in a large bowl or on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center, making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides. Break eggs into the well. Add chocolate syrup and vanilla. Gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape. Once it gets thick, you can use a spatula to incorporate the rest of the flour.

If the dough is too dry, add a little water. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add a little flour. Once the dough comes together, knead the dough on a clean work surface until it becomes smooth, about 8 min. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge, 20 to 30 min.

Divide rested dough into quarters and work with one piece at a time, covering your other pieces to keep them moist. Flour each piece lightly, shape it into a rectangular shape and put it through a pasta sheeter attachment, starting at the widest setting. Run the dough once through the largest setting, fold it into thirds and run it through one more time. Then run the pasta through the sheeting attachment once on every number, stopping at 5 or 6, depending on how thick you would like it. Lightly flour the rolled out pasta sheet and fold in half. Take your chef knife and cut ribbons about a 1/2-inch thick, then unravel the pasta ribbons and place on a floured baking sheet to keep from sticking.

For the sauce: Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and stir in the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Add a pinch salt and continue whisking until the sauce is creamy. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Cook the chocolate pasta in a large pot of boiling water, 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pasta from the water and toss gently with the sauce and a little of the pasta cooking water to help with the consistency.

Mound the pasta and sauce on dessert plates and garnish with the fresh berries, a dollop of creme fraiche, white chocolate shavings and skinless toasted chopped hazelnuts, to garnish.

Lemon Fig Ravioli Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon
  • ¼ cup finely ground blanched hazelnuts, toasted

Filling:

  • 1 cup fig preserves
  • Freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup finely ground blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preparation
For cookies: In a large bowl, whisk flour and sugar together. Cut in butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Add the egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and hazelnuts to form dough. Separate dough into two equal-sized balls; cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 min.

For filling: In a food processor, combine fig preserves, lemon, and sugar. Process until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Remove from food processor and put in small bowl. Add hazelnuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate. Keeping it cool will prevent it from spreading out from the ravioli dough during assembly.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Roll one ball out at a time, between two sheets of plastic, into rectangles of 15×6 inches.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With a sharp knife, slice one rectangle to make the ravioli casing. Brush the rectangle with the egg wash. This rectangle should be cut to have 24 squares. Place a rounded teaspoon of the chilled preserves on 12 of the squares. The other 12 are the tops. Place the empty squares on top of the squares which you’ve placed the preserves. With a fork, crimp around the edges to seal the ravioli. Repeat with the other rectangle.

Place the ravioli on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Brush with egg wash and cut a half inch slit into the top of the ravioli. Bake for 15-20 min, or until light golden brown. Dust cookies with cinnamon immediately after removing from oven. Transfer to wire racks.

Baked Pasta Pudding with Chestnuts

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh chestnuts
  • 3/4 lb tagliatelli
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Butter, for greasing

Preparation
Using a small sharp knife, cut a cross shape in the top of each chestnut shell. Arrange nuts in a shallow baking pan and bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees until the shells split open and can be peeled off with a knife. Peel off shell as well as bitter inner skin and chop peeled chestnuts.

Boil tagliatelli in salted water until al dente, drain, rinse in cold water and drain again well.

Brown chestnuts in the butter. Gradually sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and continue to cook until chestnuts are caramelized.

Mix the chestnuts with cooked tagliatelli. Whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla until foamy, then whisk in the cream. Add to the chestnut mixture.

Beat egg whites with the granulated sugar until stiff, then fold into the chestnut mixture. Transfer to a buttered shallow baking dish.

Bake at 425 degrees until browned, about 20 min. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.



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