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Pasta Risotto from Dorie Greenspan - a creamy pasta dish that's an upscale mac and cheese

Dressy Pasta “Risotto”

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Dorie Greenspan’s Dressy Pasta “Risotto” was a hit with my crew. Creamy and delicious, it’s cooked more like risotto than pasta! It’s definitely an upscale mac and cheese.

Pasta Risotto from Dorie Greenspan

Dressy Pasta “Risotto”

Will wonders never cease? This is the fourth French Friday dish in a row that’s received compliments from my other half. Yes, Bill approved again. This creamy Pasta “Risotto” is a simple, delectable mac and cheese. Its name is derived from the method of cooking, not the ingredients. No worries, though…this unprecedented record will end soon as Moules Marinière is up in a couple weeks…and bivalves are on his “will not pass my lips” list.

Pasta Risotto from Dorie Greenspan

Upscale Macaroni and Cheese

Much speedier than the classic risotto made with rice, but with the same creamy flavor coming from the addition of butter, heavy cream and mascarpone cheese. Finely chopped onions were sauteed in butter before adding chicken broth and tubetti (small, short tubes) and cooked till most of the stock was absorbed.

The cream, mascarpone and Parmesan cheese were added at the end to boost the mouth feel and flavor. Sounds like a marvelous upscale mac and cheese, doesn’t it?

Pasta Risotto

Tips for Making This Pasta Risotto

Dorie, as usual, had a couple bonne idées, or alternatives, such as using elbow macaroni and beef broth or the addition of dried mushrooms, thyme or rosemary, black truffle peelings or crushed black peppercorns. I would have jumped on the mushroom and herb band wagon, but then the record would have stopped at only 3 Bill approved recipes in a row.

I jazzed mine up with a sprinkling of minced parsley and red bell pepper…not exactly truffles, sigh. Who wants to place a wager on next Friday’s Baked Apples?

Dorie’s recipe for the Dressy Pasta “Risotto” can be found in The Wall Street Journal or in her incredible cookbook, Around My French Table.


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Dressy Pasta “Risotto”

A macaroni and cheese recipe made in the style of risotto

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Entree
  • Method: Sauteing, Simmering
  • Cuisine: French-American


2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3¾ cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups tubetti pasta
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
3½ tablespoons mascarpone



Melt the butter in a large  saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stir and let it simmer until it has absorbed almost all the broth, 20 to 25 minutes.

Pour in the cream and allow it to simmer for a few minutes, until it thickens slightly. Stir in Parmesan and mascarpone, cook for 1 minute, and taste for salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

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48 comments on “Dressy Pasta “Risotto””

  1. Looks vert yummy Liz! We do the same with Greek Quadrettini called Hylopitaki/Hilopitaki. Thank you!

  2. A grown up mac and cheese… what’s not to love:@)

  3. Yum, I love the style of pasta used. I bet this is amazing. Can’t wait for Baked Apples 🙂

  4. oooooh what a cool concept! This looks extraaa delish!

  5. Love the look of your pasta risotto , Lizzy ! Definitely fuss-free compare to the traditional version . I’ll have mine with bacon , pretty please 😉

    Wishing you and your family a Happy , Healthy and a Bountiful 2014 !!!

  6. That looks so good. A nice alternative when you can’t have risotto. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Look so god dear Lizzy!!
    Have a nice weekend and relax!!!

    (Im with my parents here at home lol)

  8. Really looks decadent (especially after I am reading about all the smoothies out there today)!!! LOL

  9. I’ve been thinking about updating/enjoying more pasta dishes and you have steered me in a delicious direction.

  10. This was so, so good, wasn’t it? Hooray for a recipe Bill likes! Creamy pasta goodness!

  11. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Looks great!

  12. Beautiful pictures and love that spot of color with the bell pepper! Will keep an eye out for the tubetti pasta.

  13. Those sprinkles of parsley and red bell peppers made the dish pop. Beautifully done, Liz. Happy New Year to you and your family. 🙂

  14. This looks wonderful, I love the mascarpone!

  15. Here’s to five in a row! (plunking down the vaccuum packed last Scharffen-Berger chocolate bar from IFBC).

    The red and green garnishes look so pretty – almost Christmasy!

  16. Your pasta looks terrific! I love that you added bell peppers. Such a great idea! (Very nice photos too!)

  17. Funny…my Bill loved this one, too! We’ve also been on a run lately! And I will get one more win with the Moules Marinière…he’s dutch and loves his seafood! This dish was quite irresistible…creamy and luscious! A keeper for sure! Happy New Year, my friend!

  18. It was a marvelous little dish that sous chef loved – which surprised me. Moules Mariniere should be a winner at our house – he adores seafood and shellfish. This could be a record winning streak for FFWD. PS, love the photo styling!
    Happy New Year!

  19. Liz, This recipe sounds irresistibly creamy with the mascarpone cheese. I would have to add more grated parmesan atop the dish as there’s no such thing as too much cheese! Looking forward to following your blog in 2014 and wishing you continued success.

  20. This looks like perfect comfort food with the cold weather upon us. I’ve taken some time off from blogging and the computer. Now it looks like I’ll have to back track to see all the yummy dishes you and everyone else have been posting.

    Happy New Year! I hope yours was wonderful!!!

  21. 3 in a row – well done. Seriously, though, look at that dish and who wouldn’t want to eat that and go back for second?

  22. Perfection as always! I always wonder how you come up with your wonderful recipes. Good job on this one!

  23. Nice one, Liz… fresh and simple!

  24. Has Bill changed his medication??? I do love the look of this. It looks like excellent comfort food and I love your little pasta. This does look like a very upmarket version of mac and cheese xx

  25. Yay, another hit with Bill. Perhaps you could disguise the mussels so that they are palatable to him?

  26. Glad the hubby like this one. This dish was enjoyed by the family. Happy New Year.

  27. I’ve made the apples and I predict Bill will give another thumbs up! Your ‘risotto’ looks delicious. The parsley and red peppers are good ideas and liven up the mac and cheese. Kudos!

  28. Bill sure is on a roll. I really liked this one. A nice way to start off the year. Howard is NOT going to eat baked apples next week. We’ve already discussed it… I might have to make just one. Happy New Year, Liz!

  29. This was so yummy! I like that you added some color to it!

    Happy New Year!

  30. The pasta looks simply delicious, Liz.

  31. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe, sounds so good. And it looks so amazing Liz! Can’t go wrong with mac and cheese, ever! I’m with Bill on the moules btw… lol!

  32. This looks wonderful Liz! I love creamy risotto but my hubby is not a big fan but t I think he will love this pasta version just like Bill 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  33. I love that this is made with pasta…. my kids will flip for this. 🙂

  34. This dish looks so creamy and comforting!

  35. The mother of a friend of mine in Italy taught me to make pasta risotto style and we have been loving it ever since. The addition of mascarpone makes it special and decadent! I love it. I love the addition of the onions, too. Beautiful! Happy New Year, Liz xo

  36. it still looks remarkably yummy! 🙂

  37. Your dish looks fabulous! I thought this was yummy too (I like mussels, so I’m actually looking forward to that one). It’s so nice that you’ve had such a great popularity run! Happy New Year!!

  38. Nice one – and I think Bill will like next week too 🙂 Happy New YEar!

  39. I am so happy that you ALL liked this one. And well played by not adding any bonne ideas and risking a “thumbs down” 🙂 This is a keeper in my house. Still can’t believe I never prepared pasta like this before. I am with you on that mussels dish. I may actually even have to get my hubby to cook that one……:) Happy New Year ! (and my wager is that the apples are a hit !!)

  40. This is a record!! But it was very tasty and so creamy how can anyone resist this recipe? Happy New Year Liz!

  41. Next time I will add something to this mac/cheese. It was quite tasty. B didn’t get this one, but he will next time.

  42. If Bill wouldn’t like this I’d have to come give him a smack. This one was a ringer if there ever was one. lol.

  43. Wow, a month of success 🙂
    We all liked the apples, especially with a side of sweetened ricotta.

  44. This week’s recipe was a crowd pleaser. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it. Might need to make Bill another batch when the Moules come up.

  45. Looks so so good my dear. This would be a hit with everyone. Love it.
    Happy NEW YEAR and wish you a fantastic year ahead.

  46. Sorry Bill doesn’t care for mushrooms…Think I might add shitake to this fantabulous pasta!

  47. Not only do the photos look fantastic but your description is making me drool!

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