Chocolate pasta? No, I’m not kidding. Actually, cocoa and spices goes way, way back thousands of years ago. The Mayans in Mexico often combined cocoa beans, the “food of the gods” with a variety of spices. So, thanks to ancient times, I am introducing you to a different new, improved flavored pasta in modern day.
Years back, after finishing graduate school, I was the typical student living on a shoestring budget. I did have my degree and ambition to become a full-time freelance writer. During this time, I was smitten by a new man in my life. One evening, I wanted to cook a romantic dinner. I chose traditional store bought angel hair spaghetti and marinara sauce because it was fail-proof – nothing too creative. I took extra time, however, to make the pasta dish perfect, complete with onions and garlic. And it turned out fine. No surprises.
But times are a changing. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m more daring in the kitchen. On Wednesday, I turned to a package of chocolate fettuccine. At first, the dilemma was, “Do I go sweet?” or “Do I go savory?” I could have created a pasta chocolate-blackberry pudding but I changed it up a bit like that. I grabbed fresh vegetables out of the fridge and one pot, one pan. I made my decision. It was meant to be for me to create a quick and easy vegetarian-style entree dish with chocolate flair, a “chocolatarian’s delight.” (You can also cook it up, add fresh fruit and serve it chilled for a dessert.)
Chocolate Fettuccine with Vegetables
2 cups cooked chocolate pasta (prepackaged, hand-made and all natural)
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon each garlic and onion, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons European style butter
Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
In a medium-size pot, boil water. Cook pasta for no more than five minutes. While the pasta is boiling, in a frying pan, saute vegetables in butter. Do not overcook. In a nice dish, put drained pasta in and top with veggie mix. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 2 . Serve with warm, whole-grain French bread slices or bread sticks dipped in extra virgin olive oil. Okay, so you’re wondering, “How did it taste?” Uh, different? Not like the stuff I used back in the day. The texture and flavor are a cut above. The pasta that I used is a light chocolate color, earthy. (It’s low in sodium, calories, cholesterol, and fat plus an excellent source of protein, iron, and dietary fiber.) It was pretty when plated with red and green veggies and golden cheese.
So, this cocoa pasta thing is really not zany. After all, in my chocolate book I included both chocolate pasta and entree recipes. It works. Ask people in Italy or Mexico. They’ll tell you that mole (a sauce with nuts, tomatoes, vegetables, spices, and cocoa) are nothing new. And that’s not all… Chocolate and pets? My two loves. And it’s making my tail wag.
– Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Dozens of heart healthy spa chef recipes in The Healing Powers of Chocolate (ebook on sale at amazon.com and kobo.com)