Sicilian Mac & Cheese

Since 1937 cupboards across America have contained slender blue boxes with gold lettering declaring itself “Macaroni & Cheese”- Sure I’ve eaten the stuff- shoveled spoonfuls of the skinny elbow, glowy orange macaroni into my mouth, but I can’t say that this was the mac and cheese we grew up on.

Pasta Ricotta, as it was commonly referred to in our house, was made with rotini pasta smothered in fresh ricotta cheese, tossed with parsley, black pepper, and then topped with a generous handful of grated cheese, this  was our version of the classic American dish.  Picky eater approved and just as simple to make as that other one- you can save all those blue boxes to use as maracas at your next soiree.

For the grown up version below,  I used a pasta made from fava bean flour- the noodles were chewy and had a nutty flavor that stood up really well against the richness and creaminess of the cheese.  Enjoy!

Pasta Ricotta

1 pound Fava bean flour pasta (or regular semolina will do just as well-use any macaroni shape you want- penne, rotini, shells…)
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
handful of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup of grated cheese (as always I used locatelli)
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste (TASTE FIRST- depending on the cheese it might not need much or any at all!)’

Preparation:

Boil the pasta in a large pot with sea salted water- drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In a large mixing bowl combine the fresh ricotta, parsley and egg yolk, add the pasta directly to the bowl stirring quickly.  If too dry, add a quarter of cup of the pasta water, continue to do this until you have the consistency you like- you may not have to use all the starchy water.  Top the pasta with freshly ground pepper and grated cheese.  Serve immediately!!

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