I have to admit to being completely stumped this month when I saw the We Should Cocoa challenge set by Choclette over on her Chocolate Log Blog. The February challenge was to come up with something chocolate, savoury and vegetarian. Not many things came to mind. Until, at the very last minute, I spied a packet of chocolate/cocoa Penne pasta and had a flash of inspiration! I found the pasta in my local Hotel Chocolat store (the smell always seems to intice me inside) in a little corner called Cocoa Cuisine, which including the chocolate pasta, cocoa nib balsamic vinegar and interestingly too, a black truffle and chocolate tapenade. So, I quickly swiped a packet of pasta (at £5.00 per 250g it is a bit extravagant) and decided to go home and cook it for our lunch with a creamy mushroom sauce (ingredients already in the fridge.)
The result – well, I’d say that the pasta has a much stronger aroma of cocoa than flavour. The taste is actually extremely mild. I’m wondering whether a spoonful or two or some organic cocoa powder in the sauce wouldn’t have gone a miss just to add an extra hit. The children had some of it plain, with butter and were quite excited about getting chocolate pasta, although at that price, I told them not to get used to it! Having said that, we each had a bowl making the dish (including the mushrooms and cream) something around £1.75 a head – s0 perhaps for a dinner party or a special supper this wouldn’t be so bad. You can also use the pasta to make sweet dishes, although the recipe included on the packet was for Salmon and Mascarpone Cocoa Pasta…maybe that will be next?!
I also asked my sister who lives in Italy whether she had heard of chocolate pasta and she said she had and told me about a ‘Chocohotel’ in Perugia. A quick look at the restaurant menu revealed Ricotta cheese patties with chocolate and sweet pepper cream and Pasta with cocoa and courgette – so two more savoury, vegetarian dishes to fit the brief! Perhaps it wasn’t such a wild idea after all!
Keep an eye out for Choclette’s round-up to see all the other exciting creations. I’m pleased I joined in – I’m quite inspired by the idea of Cocoa Cuisine!