Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chocolate pasta from scratch, with tomato and white bean sauce

Semi-recently, I read the book French Toast by Peta Mathias. The book focuses on French food, including regional specialities, variations and quirks, and recipes for some dishes were included throughout. French food is rather meat-heavy and the book shared that slant, but there were some recipes that caught my eye. Chocolate pasta was one of them. 

The idea of chocolate pasta had never crossed my mind before, but when I read about it I could see, instantly, that it had the potential to pair wonderfully with a thick tomato sauce. I committed myself to trying it, and last week the time for trying arrived.


Most online recipes for chocolate pasta are actually dessert-focused. Chocolate pasta with strawberry sauce, with chocolate sauce, with caramel sauce...there are lots of options available. Perhaps it says something about my taste buds that I am happy to take chocolate to my main course, but not to take pasta to my dessert!

This recipe for chocolate pasta in non-dessert form is extremely simple in many ways, but I was taken aback by how hard it was to roll and cut the pasta. In my imagination, it was like dough. In reality, it was thick and heavy and my arm strength was not up to thin enough rolling. Our pasta was thus rather thick, something that had run-on effects for our overall enjoyment of the meal.

Thicker than optimal pasta!

All in all, I don't think I would try this again without pasta making equipment, but it was certainly a novel dish and I would be keen to try a version with thinly pressed pasta in the future. The tomato-based sauce would have been enjoyable with any pasta, and I retain my belief that it is a better match than sweet toppings for chocolate pasta.

Chocolate pasta with 
tomato and white bean sauce

Pasta adapted from a recipe in Peta Mathias' French Toast
Vegan
Serves 2


Ingredients
For the pasta
1 cup plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water (soak for at least 15 minutes)

For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced
1 small yellow capsicum (pepper), thinly sliced
1 cup (~1/2 tin) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Dash of salt
1/2 cup (~1/3 tin) cooked white beans
Pepper, to serve


Method
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt and make a slight well in the centre. Add in the chia soaked in water and mix to combine. Knead for 5 - 10 minutes until the dough has softened slightly. Add a dash of extra water if required. Roll in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for about an hour.

To make the sauce, saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat, in a saucepan or non-stick pan. When golden, reduce the heat to low-medium and add in the tomatoes, herbs and vegetables. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least 15 minutes. Add the white beans and leave over low heat for a further 10 minutes.

To make the pasta, roll the chilled dough between two non-stick pieces of baking paper. You want the dough as flat as possible, ideally ~2mm. Cut into ribbons using a sharp knife, or use a pasta maker if you have one. Add the ribbons to a saucepan of hot water with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 - 6 minutes (longer if your pasta is thick!).

Serve the pasta with the sauce, and freshly cracked black pepper.



I think chilli would also go well in this sauce, but as Mr Bite isn't a big fan I left it out. If you have a household with different taste buds, it may be a nice addition.

Have you ever made pasta, in which case do you have any tips for me in relation to rolling and cutting the dough?

Or have you tried chocolate pasta yourself in the past?


This post is part of my Vegan Month of Food contributions for October 2012. 

46 comments:

  1. This sounds really interesting!

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  2. Wow this is an inspired dish - I have only ever made pasta with a pasta machine but not for ages (let's not talk about the pasta machine in the cupboard) - and I have only had chocolate pasta with a raspberry sauce ages ago - I remember being disappointed that it didn't taste that chocolatey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't taste that chocolatey, you're right...it is a bit disappointing in that regard. A bit like the first time I ate cocoa powder straight up as a child actually!

      I agree that we should never talk about machines and gadgets in kitchen cupboards :P

      Delete
  3. I actually have some dried chocolate pasta that I've been meaning to use! I love your savory spin on it...sounds delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Now, dried chocolate pasta sounds like a very sensible thing. I'll look forward to hearing what you end up doing with it!

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  4. Wow! This is ingenious, Kari! And inspiring! You made pasta from scratch!!! I've always been intimidated by it. Surprisingly, chocolate is quite the versatile one, isn't it? My brother-in-law is Mexican and his sister recently made this homemade mole sauce with Mexican chocolate for us, Boy, it was out of this world! I'm going to make my own pizza dough today! You've inspired me to do more than my usual repertoire!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Min :) And you are one of several people to introduce me to the concept of mole sauce - I am sold on the idea!!

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  5. Interesting! The only type of pasta I have made is Ravioli.. it was a little thicker than the store bought kind by still good. I'm not sure if I would try to make noodles, though.. I like really thin, angel hair type pasta.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the thin type too :) This is definitely not thin so you may not be a fan!

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  6. I've never tried or heard of chocolate pasta. Truly a one of a kind dish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely a unique concept - completely new to me until I read the book too!

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  7. Amazing how you attempted this without a pasta maker! Well done. What an interesting combination of flavours. I've never had a chocolate pasta before, certainly not accompanied with a savoury sauce. I'd like to try this! xx

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    Replies
    1. I think if I'd known more about pasta making I may not have tried :) I really do like the savoury sauce mix though so I hope you enjoy it if you ever get a chance to try it.

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  8. This sounds like something that would be awesome with a mole sauce! Bravo on giving it a go, Kari.

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    Replies
    1. I had never heard of mole sauce prior to today, but after looking it up I am so taken with the concept - and agree that it would be a great match for chocolate pasta :)

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  9. Chocolate pasta? I can hear kids everywhere yelling, "gimme some!"

    I really want a plate of this, it looks really yummy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a child friendly dish!

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  10. Truly impressed you made your own pasta! You are much braver than me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I was only brave because I didn't know much about it :P

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  11. Replies
    1. Well spotted :) It is indeed - a Christmas present two years back and we still love it. I can never go back to regular knives now!

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  12. Chocolate Pasta! Genius! I linked up to you today in my week 2 round-up of awesome Vegan MoFo posts!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much JL. That was really kind of you and I'm thrilled to have discovered your blog!

      Delete
  13. I have never made home made pasta but plan on it. My mom used to make these delicious egg noodles from scratch. I am definitely planning on veganizing those noodles; they were very "homey," thick and delicious. As for your rolling and cutting tips; I'd look on youtube. There's bound to be a very helpful tutorial on rolling and cutting homemade pasta – maybe even with a vegan recipe. Anyway, your pasta looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Karen - and thanks for the youtube clip. I really need to remember that resource is there! Your mother's egg noodles sound wonderful so I'll look forward to you veganizing those if you do decide to do so :)

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  14. what a really interesting recipe - I would have been one of those people who immediately have thought of chocolate pasta for dessert, but I often put a bit of chocolate in my chili and so I can totally see how it would have worked here!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Joey - that chocolate chilli combination is what convinced me the savoury twist would work too!

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  15. wow! this is so impressive! I've never had chocolate pasta before and can't believe you made your own!

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  16. I make pasta semi-regularly but I would never do it without a pasta machine - way too much work. They are quite useful to have, I also use mine to roll out pastry on occasions and I think I picked it up at the Christmas sales for about $30.
    The best tip I've ever had with pasta is to use continental flour. It is a hard flour and makes excellent pasta without lumps so easily. Far less kneeding involved.
    The chocolate pasta looks amazing though, this might be my next pasta experiment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear...our kitchen may gain a gadget if I see one for $30! That's good to know though - and I would love it if you made this with your pasta skills. Let me know if you do!

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  17. Interesting chocolate experiment! Apart from chocolate moles, the only time I have made anything savoury with chocolate was a chocolate mushroom risotto from Johanna's blog years ago which we weren't overly keen on.

    Pasta machines are wonderful for rolling out the sheets thinly, I was fortunate to be given one from my mother in law as she hadn't been using it. It's amazing how much the pasta swells when it cooks and it's quite difficult to roll it thinly enough by hand.

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    Replies
    1. Definitely difficult to roll by hand!! I haven't done much with savoury chocolate dishes either but would now like to try mole sauce.

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