Penne Cocoa Pasta with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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!


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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!

 Have you ever cooked a savoury dish with cocoa?!

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  1. I always add some cocoa to my chilli con carne – other than that I am not a huge fan of using chocolate in savoury dishes… I also have a packet of the Hotel Choolat pasta at home that needs using – thanks for the inspiration!

  2. wow looks interesting. i want to taste that one.
    added to my list now. still browsing your other post
    have a great day.

    1. Thanks Jane and thank you for the visit and comment. x

  3. where on earth do you find such pasta! I love the contrast of black and white! gorgeous dish ren!

    1. Thanks Shu Han, it’s Hotel Chocolat – I like the contrasting colours too, made things a bit more interesting!

  4. Wow! I’ve never heard of cocoa pasta – but it actually looks wonderful and a lovely mushroom sauce – great pairing!
    Mary x

    1. Thanks Mary, glad you like it!

  5. I too have visited Hotel Chocolat and spied some chilli chocolate olive oil. I just can’t get past the idea that chocolate should be sweet, though I did once eat venison in chocolate sauce, which was delicious. This sounds good, but I’m so squeamish!!

    1. I know what you mean, it does take a leap of faith!

  6. Magnolia Verandah says:

    How unusual is this challenge (and it is certainly that). Great recipe.

    1. Thank you 🙂 Any cocoa pasta in your part of the world I wonder?!

  7. nice work!… look at the stunning photo’s… I’m loving this challenge for all its unusual entries… I love the idea of chocolate penne… really nice!

    1. Me too Dom, some fab entries can’t wait for the round up. I’m still craving your dish!

    1. My husband said it tastes like pasta in chocolate sauce, but I didn’t really think so!

  8. wow looks delish – I will now be on the lookout for chocolate pasta!

  9. Hmmm, I’m not sure about chocolate pasta. Seems a bit like doing something different just for the sake of doing something different! Perhaps I’ll try normal pasta with normal mushrooms, with a bit of chocolate grated on top (pretending it’s truffle, maybe), just to see if I like the combination.

    1. Good idea Mark, I’m sure you’d get a similar result!

  10. Oh Ren, this looks divine – great photograph. I love pasta with mushrooms & cream anyway and this has surely got to make it even better. It looks fantastic with the dark pasta and I can imagine would go really well with mushrooms. Interesting though that it doesn’t have much of a cocoa hit. As you say at that price, it would be a special occasion meal only, but for those making their own pasta, it wouldn’t take much to add a bit of cocoa powder. Great idea as are the other two you mentioned. Thanks for your entry.

    1. Thanks Choclette and thanks for hosting and setting such an interesting challenge. I look forward to the round-up. My husband could taste the cocoa, certainly, so maybe my taste buds just need a stronger hit these days!

  11. This sounds totally different, but very tasty. I have often seen that pasta in Hotel Chocolat, but always thought of using it in some sort of dessert rather than savory dish. Might go well with a venison ragu or something similar?!

    1. Ooh it would go really well in a Venison Ragu! Like, super well! Might have to make some.

    1. Thank you, I think chocolate and truffle works together, so the mushrooms are just a few steps down…!?

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