I’ll just say this up front – some of you are going to think that this is a strange dish. It’s either like the pasta version of rice pudding or the dessert version of macaroni and cheese. The only category that it squarely fits into is that of comfort food.
I came across the original recipe many years ago in an old edition of Better Homes & Gardens Italian Cook Book. According to the book, Sweet Shepherd’s Noodles is a dish from “a mountainous sheep-grazing region in southern Italy.” Since the sweet creamy flavor reminded me of a rice pudding, I added dried fruits, walnuts and nutmeg to the original recipe and doubled the amount of cinnamon in it. I love this embellished version of the dish for lunch on a grey winter’s day. A hot main dish and dessert all in one! Do you make anything similar?
4 oz. pasta (any shape, gluten-free ok)
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/3 c. milk
2 T. granulated white sugar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 T. dried cherries
1 1/2 T. yellow raisins
1 1/2 T. finely chopped walnuts
fresh nutmeg, optional
(1) Place pasta in a pot of boiling water to cook.
(2) When the pasta is almost done cooking, place ricotta cheese, milk, sugar and cinnamon in a medium-size pot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring until there are no large lumps in the mixture.
(3) When pasta is cooked to desired tenderness, drain thoroughly and then stir into cheese mixture. Stir in walnuts and fruits. Serve immediately. If desired, grate a little fresh nutmeg over pasta. Enjoy!