Sometimes we get very firm ideas in our minds about what foods should be savoury and what foods should be sweet. Take for example chocolate. Chocolate is usually seen as sweet in our collective imagination, that is until it’s put into a Mexican mole sauce and served (savoury) alongside steak or beans or chicken.
The same can be said for mozzarella, which we usually see as savoury but makes a perfect addition to the Middle Eastern dessert kunafa. Pork is savoury until there's candied bacon on our pancakes and french toast is sweet until we have savoury french toast bake. We see pears as sweet but are fine with putting them into a creamy soup with goat cheese and walnuts. We see cheddar as savoury until it’s baked into the layers of an apple tart, adding complexity and depth and a streak of daring.
Although we've come to accept certain deviations in the traditional bounds between the worlds of savoury and sweet foods, one area where we’re woefully missing out (at least in the English speaking world) is with pasta.
We’re happy with the idea of sweet rice - rice pudding is so common it's a mainstay of airlines and seniors' residences the world over. But the idea of sweet pasta hasn’t hit the mainstream yet.
In Italy there are countless ways to make pasta, both savoury and sweet. There are giant cocoa coated pasta shells filled with chocolate custard, sweet Sicilian fried pasta with candied orange peel and pistachios, and angel hair pasta pie. The trend extends out of Italy too. There’s Hungarian baked dessert noodles rakott teszta, sweet macaroni pie budinca de macaroane from my native Romania, Croatian sweet pasta pie stonska torta, and of course who can forget the kugel.
There are a ton of ways to prepare and enjoy sweet pasta. The recipe I’ve shared here is a classic taste of Romanian childhood (with a little added adult luxury in the form of the super decadent mascarpone addition). It has relatively few ingredients and it’s simple to prepare. Most often we would eat this at breakfast or as an afternoon snack or dessert.
Other great pasta recipes:
- Homemade Pappardelle with Sicilian Anchovy & Breadcrumb Sauce
- Handmade Macaroni
- Pillowy Soft Homemade Potato Gnocchi
- Saffron Mac & Cheese
- Creamy Tomato & Herb 3 Ingredient Pasta
- Ethiopian Lasagna
- Andouille Carbonara
Sweet Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Dessert Pasta
- 250 grams dry pasta
- 1 liter milk maybe more if it reduces before the pasta is cooked and creamy
- 5 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 big spoonful mascarpone optional
- pinch salt
- Add the milk, pasta, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and salt to a pot and simmer on medium-low stirring often since the pasta is prone to sticking to itself and the pot.
- Continue cooking for 15-18 minutes, stirring frequently so the pasta doesn't stick.
- When the pasta is cooked through, it's ready. If you want to go the extra mile, swirl in a big spoonful of mascarpone to make it extra creamy.
- The secret to this dish is cooking it low and slow so the milk has time to reduce into a custard-like sauce.
- If the liquid has reduced but the pasta still isn't cooked, add another ¼ cup of milk and continue cooking or repeat as necessary until pasta is cooked and swimming in a beautiful thick sauce.
You have the most amazing food blog!!! Can’t wait to try this one ?
Ahh thank you so much Erin!! Please let me know how it goes!
I searched for cinnamon sugar pasta as a joke but was amazed to see how you actually pulled it off haha! Love it!
Haha thank you. You never know what's out there. It's super tasty too if you want to go the extra step and try it ?
I made this with some toppings for my blog. https://www.dropsofinkrm.com/post/dessert-pasta
It's a new blog, but hopefully you might one day get some traffic from my post. Your recipes look amazing, I can't wait to try some more. I've already signed up for your newsletter. Thanks for a delicious dessert!
Hi Raedan! Thank you so much for sharing this <3 Really glad you enjoyed the sweet pasta 🙂
I made this for breaking-fast this morning except with a few swaps-
– lentil penne
– granulated monkfruit
– 2 vanilla Premier Protein shakes
It was SOOO nom-some.
Thank you for the recipe guidelines!!!
You just blew my mind 🤯 I love this combo! Truly innovative culinary off-roading. What even is granulated monk fruit?? Thank you for sharing and so happy this post inspired you to create something exciting and delicious ♥️
Is this served hot or cold or either? Thanks for sharing! Im making it now with almond milk instead of cows 🙂
Hey Rita. Yum almond milk is a great idea. And yes hot or cold both work!
Consider my mind blown. I also searched "cinnamon sugar pasta" as a bit of a joke but really because I'm having some serious sweets cravings. Well, I made the dish and my life may never be the same. I added nutmeg, cloves, and just a dash of cayenne pepper. I used almond milk and was worried that it wasn't going to achieve that creamy texture - until I added a spoonful of quark cheese after turning off the heat and WOW! It all came together beautifully. Thanks for the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it! Love the addition of cayenne!
Would this freeze in small pots
Hey Stephanie. Just going off off frozen dinner style pastas I would say yes, but of course the texture might be a little different.
I tried out this recipe and attempted to follow all the instructions (with a pinch of nutmeg added, just for fun), though I found it didn't turn out as expected. The coating turned into a thicker brown-grey gruel, and drowned out all of the pasta we added, only seeing the top of the pasta after it was already done.
A friend was also going to try out this recipe, and I suggested to start with half a liter of milk instead of a full liter, and they said it turned out quite a lot better. It may have just been the pasta we were using (a penne & farfale combination), though I think if someone wants to try this out, it may be wiser to halve the suggested amount of milk. I appreciated the format and thoughts on the recipe though!
Hey Hunter. Sorry it didn't quite work out for you and thank you for sharing your feedback.
My maternal grandmother used to make something extremely similar but using moscovado sugar instead of brown sugar and either ricotta, sour cream or cottage cheese instead of mascarpone, although that was optional. I really don't know where the recipe came from because her roots were mostly in the Aquitaine region in France and the Basque region of Spain, although she was born and raised in Flanders (Belgium). She would also make a version of it adding some cocoa and spekulaas spice and slivers of almond. This last one was a special treat!
Oh cocoa or spekulaas is a delicious addition thanks for sharing!
When do you put in the vanilla?
Sorry it wasn't clear. I add the vanilla at the same time as the milk - I've now updated the recipe to be clearer 🙂