4 Desserts Made with Pasta

Pasta lovers, be sure to save room for dessert: Pasta is perfect for dessert, too! Pasta as a sweet course may sound trendy, but Italians have been making all sorts of desserts with it for centuries. From cutting edge modern creations to traditional almond-pasta pie from Emilia-Romagna, there are hundreds of sweets made with virtually every shape of pasta.

Various dry pasta shapes on wooden board

Pasta Dessert Recipes

Almond Pasta Pie
Pasta seasoned with chocolate and almonds bake into one of the most unusual, delicious pies I’ve ever tasted especially when made with egg pasta that is made with special heirloom wheat.

What You’ll Need:
8 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups, whole blanched almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces, about 1/3 cup, finely chopped candied orange peel
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 pie-crust, store bought or homemade
8 ounces egg tagliatelle pasta
6 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
1/3 cup rum

What to Do:
Grind the almonds and sugar in a food processor until it resembles coarse sand. Pulse in the zest, candied orange peel, and cocoa powder until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan with the pie crust. Pot lots of holes in the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork.

Cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain and toss in the butter until well combined. Then stir into the almond mixture.

Put the pasta into the pie crust, loosely cover with aluminum foil, bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking uncovered for about 20 minutes 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.

Serve at room temperature.

Chocolate Stuffed Shells
Toss cooked shells with cocoa powder and then fill with anything you like. Pictured here is milk chocolate and dark chocolate pudding, but other fun options include:

  • Ice cream + slice of banana + dollop fudge sauce+ chopped nuts= mini sundae
  • Ricotta + sugar + mini chocolate chips = soft cannoli
  • Macarpone cheese + sugar + drop of coffee = instant tiramisu
  • Cream cheese + fruit jam + fresh fruit = Italian-style cheese cake

What You’ll Need:
24 jumbo pasta shells, conchiglioni
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Fillings & garnishes: approximately 2 cups total of gelato, custard, whipped cream, fruit, yogurt, etc.

What to Do:
Cook the shells in lightly salted boiling water until al dente and drain.

For sweeter shells, put the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar, to taste, into a sturdy plastic food storage bag. Toss the shells, a few at a time, into the bag until fully coated with cocoa powder. For less sweet shells toss them in just cocoa powder. Fill with anything you like.

Cannoli Pasta Bites
Try this recipe once, and like me, I bet it’ll become one of your go-to desserts.

What You’ll Need:
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 pound penne pasta
Vegetable oil

What to Do:
Optional garnishes: chopped pistachios, chopped candied cherry or orange peel, cocoa powder or chopped chocolate

In a bowl, using a fork, mix the ricotta, sugar, chocolate and cinnamon until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until very tender, about 1 minute longer than al dente. Drain the pasta well. Meanwhile, heat about 1 inch of oil in a very small saucepan until very hot, but not smoking. Add half of the pasta and fry until golden

and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining pasta.

When room temperature, roll the fried pasta in granulated sugar, then fill each with the ricotta mixture, either using an espresso spoon or by piping it in with a pastry bag. Garnish, if you like, with chopped pistachios, candied orange peel, grated chocolate or other toppings.

Sicilian Pasta Crisps
Twirled forkfuls of honey-sweetened spaghetti, crunchy on the edges and soft in the center— scrumptious and a snap to prepare.

What You’ll Need:
1/3 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup honey
Zest of 1/2 orange
Sunflower or other vegetable oil
Pistachios, finely crushed
Ground cinnamon

What to Do:
Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the honey, orange zest and 2 tablespoons boiling water.

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 a pinch of cinnamon.

Shop pasta on FreshDirect