Crispy crunchy fried rigatoni makes a perfect vessel for these Pumpkin Ricotta Crunchy Pasta Snacks! The creamy savory filling with a hint of salami and a lot of cheese goes so well with the crispy edges of rigatoni! This seasonal snack is just what you want to stuff into your face when you are watching the game or hanging with friends by the fire. They also remind me of a grownup take on one of my favorite childhood snacks, Combos!
The inspiration for this recipe
I love the taste of fried pasta. One of my favorite restaurants The Backroom at Moody’s serves it as a snack when you first arrive, almost like tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant. (UPDATE- the restaurant is now closed) When I was thinking about different pasta shapes to fry, I realized rigatoni would be perfect to stuff with something. Because we are hitting peak autumn right now, I decided to do a pumpkin ricotta mixture as the filling. I used some almonds to add a nutty flavor and thicken it up a little, and added salami for a nice umami boost. These things are so snackable I couldn’t stop eating them.
Make The filling first
Add everything into a food processor and pulse it until smooth. It’s a thick paste which you need so it stays inside of the crunchy rigatoni
Ingredients in the Pumpkin Ricotta Filling
- canned pumpkin
- ricotta cheese
- toasted almonds
- grated parm
- dried oregano
- cracked black pepper
- chili flakes
Fry the pasta
Before you fry the pasta you need to boil it first! I like to cook it to al dente, then toss it in a little oil in a bowl. The same oil you will be using to fry it. This helps it not stick together.
Then drop it into the oil and fry it golden brown. You can tell it is done because it will stop bubbling.
I used really short rigatoni for this. If you can only find longer rigatoni, you have to cut them after the boiling phase but before the frying!
Filling Up the Crunchy Pasta with the Pumpkin Ricotta
Fill the piping bag with the pumpkin ricotta filling and load up the crunchy pasta one by one! you need to do this about an hour before you plan to eat them, but not more than 5 hours before! After about 5 hours they start to loose some of their crunch! They are still good, just not as good.
It might seem like an annoying task but you get the hang of it quick and it goes by fast.
These needed to chill for about an hour before they were perfect. It allowed the filling to thicken slightly, and the pasta to soften slightly. You need to eat them within about 5 hours though, or else they get too soft.
These Pumpkin Ricotta Crunchy Pasta Snacks are so good! an amazingly cravable snack that you can’t stop eating. It’s all about that hint of salami.
Variations on Pumpkin Ricotta Crunchy Pasta Snacks
You could fill these little fried rigatoni up with ANYTHING! Peanut butter? YES! Pepperoni and mozzarella? YES! Anything you can think of that can be blended to a paste will work great.
This isnt the first time I stuffed rigatoni, the other time was with sausage!
Pumpkin Ricotta Crunchy Pasta Snacks
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup grated parm
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 5 slices salami about 1 ounce
- rigatoni see note
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- note – I found a very short and wide rigatoni pasta that was perfect for these, but if you cant find the right size, you may need to cut the pasta in half after boiling it.
- Mix all the filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Depending on how good your food processor is, you may need to add the nuts first to make sure they are fully incorporated. Season with salt to taste.
- Boil the pasta about 3 minutes less than it says on the package. It should still have a slight crunch. Strain and toss with oil to prevent it from sticking. This is where you would cut them in half if you can only find longer pasta.
- Bring the frying oil to about 375. You only need the oil to be about 2 inches deep.
- Fry the pasta in batches. The pasta is sticky for the first minute or two of frying so it’s best to do this in medium batches. If they stick together, remove from the oil and separate them, then put them back in. Fry about 3-5 minutes until golden brown and not really bubbling anymore.
- Stand all the pasta up vertically on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Pipe the filling into the pasta making sure each one is nice and full. Put this into the fridge for 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
- Serve within 3 or 4 hours or the pasta will get soggy.