Breakfast, Desserts, Pasta, Recipes

Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Pasta

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cinnamon and brown sugar pasta

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.

Other great pasta recipes:

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.

sweet cinnamon and brown sugar dessert pasta

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.

sweet cinnamon and brown sugar dessert pasta
Much like a good rice pudding, the key is to cook the pasta in the milk low and slow until the milk reduces and becomes a custard-like sauce. Basically any dry pasta will do but short shapes tend to hold the sauce better i.e. shells, orecchiette, macaroni, fusilli, or cavatappi etc. If you’re making this for kiddos then farfalle (“butterflies”) and mini wheels might be more fun.
Cinnamon is a must, but you could also jazz it up with orange zest, crushed pistachios, cocoa powder, speculoos spice, or anything else you can think of…maybe even something that shifts that savoury/sweet divide further toward the new and unexpected.
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Sweet Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Dessert Pasta

sweet cinnamon and brown sugar dessert pasta

A comfort classic in some countries around the world but woefully underrepresented in others, sweet dessert pasta brings together the comfort of a pasta with the indulgence of a dessert. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make.

  • Author: Cristina
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Global
Scale

Ingredients

  • 250 grams dry pasta
  • 1 litre milk (maybe more if it reduces before the pasta is cooked and creamy)
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 big spoonful mascarpone (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • 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.

cinnamon brown sugar pasta

  • If you want to go the extra mile, swirl in a big spoonful of mascarpone to make it extra creamy.

Notes

  • 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 1/4 cup of milk and continue cooking or repeat as necessary until pasta is cooked and swimming in a beautiful thick sauce.

Keywords: pasta, sweet pasta, cinnamon, cinnamon pasta, cinnamon brown sugar pasta, dessert pasta, brown sugar pasta

Did you like this recipe?

Let me know in the comments ♥️

20 Comments

  1. You have the most amazing food blog!!! Can’t wait to try this one ?

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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!

  4. Faminated Ferret

    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 ♥️

  5. Is this served hot or cold or either? Thanks for sharing! Im making it now with almond milk instead of cows 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. Stephanie Clipstone

    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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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 🙂

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