Chocolate Pasta: Two Ways

Let's talk about ruts.

Everyone gets in them every once in a while, whether it be cooking or writing or whatever it may be. It happens to everyone, and it stinks. I've been in a little one myself these days and I haven't been cooking as much as I'd like to be.

Okay... to be COMPLETELY honest, I haven't cooked a single thing in a very long time. Like a LONG time. I've missed cooking so much, but I've just felt really uninspired every time I try to get in the kitchen. 

That was until today. Actually, it was until about 2 weeks ago when my parents came home from Washington with fresh pasta. But not just any pasta-- chocolate pasta. And sweet potato pasta, but I haven't gotten the chance to cook that one yet. Anyways, if you know me at all, you know that chocolate is my favorite food-- I could probably live off of it! 

Actually... I think I do... And I'm not the least bit ashamed.
The point is, I'm a chocolate freak!!! So, you can imagine the surprise and joy I was filled with when my parents pulled it out of their bag.

The thing is... I've heard of chocolate pasta and seen it everywhere! But what to do with it besides drowning it in butter or Nutella or peanut butter or chocolate sauce or powdered sugar. I wanted to actually make something elaborate with it, considering it's not your average pasta.

After a couple of weeks of constantly flipping through Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, Food Network, etc., I finally came up with a few ideas. One being a molĂ© pasta, which I decided was probably not the best idea. Let's just say it's a good thing I went with these two. 

They're both SO much fun! And incredibly tasty if you ask me...
I mean chocolate + pasta. Come on now. It's like the best dessert ever! Or dinner... or breakfast...

The first one, my personal fave, is definitely more for a sophisticated palette, but I absolutely love it! Dark chocolate pasta + berry balsamic gastrique + pistachio orange ricotta cream + dark & white chocolate shavings + toasted pistachios + fresh mint or basil... aka chocolate heaven.

I got Pistachio Cream from Italy in my Try the World box, and it is so divine. It's pretty much an incredibly rich, sweet, and creamy pistachio butter, and when paired with ricotta and a little bit of orange zest, it becomes even more amazing! If you can't get your hands on this delicacy, try finding or making pistachio butter and adding some honey to it to sweeten it. The pistachio ricotta is definitely a must-have, though! It really helps balance out the tartness of the balsamic.

The second one is much sweeter and more decadent. It's based on one of my favorite dessert foods lately- salted caramel. 
Dark chocolate pasta + brown sugar-brown butter + the best salted caramel (EVER) mascarpone cream + toasted hazelnuts + more of that delicious salted caramel... Oh yeah, plus sea salt to top it off.
aka chocolate heaven #2.

So, I've made so many caramel sauces in the past year than ever, and I think I totally just perfected my recipe. I always have used brown sugar, but I tried using granulated and letting it cook with the cream and butter from the beginning. I definitely had to babysit it a little (actually a lot), but it was so worth it.

Also, how perfect are these for Valentine's Day???

Dark Chocolate Berry Balsamic Pasta + Pistachio Orange Ricotta Cream
Serves 1-2

  • 4 oz. dark chocolate pasta
Bring (unsalted) water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Strain and set aside.

for the Berry Balsamic Gastrique:
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate pasta
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup strawberries- halved
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 tbs. heaping molasses
  • 1 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 orange- juiced
Cook all ingredients down in a saucepan on simmer until the fruit is softened and it has reduced to a sauce thick enough to stay on the back of a spoon. Add a little water and more sugar if it is too tart or vinegary for your taste.

for the Pistachio Ricotta Cream:
  • 1 heaping tbs. pistachio cream OR 1 tbs. homemade pistachio butter + 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 orange- zested
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix together until fully combined and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • dark chocolate shavings
  • white chocolate shavings
  • toasted pistachios
  • orange segments
  • fresh mint or basil (I prefer basil, but couldn't find any at the store)
Pour pasta in sauce and toss to coat completely. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has glued to the pasta. Top with ricotta cream, chocolate shavings, toasted pistachios, orange segments, and fresh mint/basil. Dig in!

Dark Chocolate Pasta + Brown Sugar-Brown Butter + Salted Caramel Mascarpone Cream
Serves 1-2

  • 4 oz. dark chocolate pasta

for the Brown Sugar-Brown Butter:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
Bring butter to a simmer. Add brown sugar and salt when the butter starts to turn brown. Keep at a simmer until brown sugar dissolves. Strain and set aside. 

for the Salted Caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Add all ingredients except salt and baking soda to a pot. Bring to a boil. It will become very foamy and thick. Keep stirring and lower to a simmer. Once it calms down, bring back to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Lower back down to a simmer and let it calm. Repeat this as many times as it takes to turn brown. Add more cream if too thick and add baking soda. Add salt and stir in. 

  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • flaky sea salt 
  • white chocolate
Mix mascarpone with 3 tbs. of the salted caramel. Chill until ready to serve.
Toss chocolate pasta with brown butter. Drizzle with salted caramel. Top with mascarpone cream, toasted hazelnuts, and sea salt. Dig in (again)!

Cecilia A.


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