In the Lebanese kitchen, capellini or vermicelli pasta is used on a daily basis to make our rice and pasta pilaf. This is a sweet version I read about in Ina’am Atalla’s Simply Lebanese. Mrs Atalla recalls how this dessert used to be her mother’s standby when people would drop by for a visit (a common situation in the country).
Incidentally, I found a Kurdish recipe that is almost identical except instead of vermicelli kadaif (shredded phyllo dough) is used.
I have added a touch of orange blossom water to the dish.
INGREDIENTS: 2 to 3 servings
- 2 ounces of dry pasta (vermicelli or cappellini)
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water (or rose water)
- 1/3 cup of chopped pistachios
- Melt the butter in a frying pan (with a lid and a heavy bottom); add the broken up vermicelli or cappellini and stir until the pasta is caramel in color. While the pasta is toasting, boil the water. As soon as it has reached the desired color, pour the boiling water, taking care not to catch any splatters; let the water cook the pasta for the required 3 or 4 minutes.
- Right before the water is totally absorbed, pour the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar in the water, adding some orange blossom water (or rose water) the last few seconds of cooking.
- Add the chopped pistachios and serve.
NOTE: The idea here is for the pasta to be moist and sweet, but not wet; if there is too much water left after the pasta is cooked, drain the excess water. Honey can be added instead of sugar.