Chocolate Pasta with Light Cream Sauce and Chiles

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Chocolate pasta. Cream sauce. Chile peppers. Sound Good? What if I told you this fabulous meal would set you back a mere 350 calories and a half hour in the kitchen?

A few weeks ago I spent some time wandering around Boston, where I stumbled upon Hotel Chocolat. As the name would imply, this adorable little shop sold delicious (and very expensive) chocolates. I almost made it out empty-handed. Almost. As I was on my way out, I caught something out of the corner of my eye: cocoa pasta. At first I thought it was just chocolate in the shape of pasta, but then I realized it was actually pasta that contained cocoa powder. There was obviously no way I was leaving without some of that!

I almost immediately decided that I wanted to pair the pasta with a cream sauce. If you’re cooking chocolate pasta you go big or go home, right? I was afraid of it being too rich though, so I used a lightened-up version of cream sauce. I added some chile peppers to the sauce for good measure and to help cut through the richness, then tossed it all together with some zucchini ribbons and grilled chicken. The final dish as every bit as delicious as it sounds and is definitely worthy of being on a menu somewhere.

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The flavor of the pasta itself was really interesting. There isn’t any sugar in it, so it isn’t sweet like you might expect it to be — it’s just normal semolina pasta with added cocoa powder. Once it’s cooked it has an intense chocolate aroma, but the flavor isn’t overpowering at all. It’s subtle yet complex, like a good mole sauce might be. The dried pasta can be purchased through the link above, but google also returns a few recipes if you want to make the pasta yourself (this one looks simple enough — avoid any dessert pastas that call for sugar).

Because I replaced much of the cream in the sauce with skim milk, it takes a little longer than normal to thicken. Be patient though — it will get there! The sauce is done when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and hold a line drawn across it with your finger.

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Chocolate Pasta with Light Cream Sauce and Chiles
The chocolatey aroma of this pasta is intense without being overpowering, and pairs perfectly with the light cream sauce and the heat of the red chile peppers. The chicken can be easily omitted for a vegetarian meal, but I enjoyed the additional flavor and texture that it contributed to the dish. The heat from the chiles will mellow as the cook in the sauce. If you prefer a more intense heat, reserve some uncooked chiles to stir in at the end.
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 chile peppers1 tsp flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • generous pinch salt
  • 1 package cocoa pasta
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp Emeril’s Poultry Rub, or your seasoning of choice

Melt the butter in the bottom of a small saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles and cook until softened. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, milk, and cream. Heat until just below boiling, then reduce heat slightly and let simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk in the arrowroot and season with salt. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and hold a line drawn across it.

White the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the zucchini ribbons and cook for 1 minute. Drain.

Season the chicken breast and grill until done. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into cubes.

Combine the pasta, zucchini, chicken, sauce, and ay reserved chile peppers.

Serves 4.
Approx. 350 calories, 9.5 grams fat, 1.5 grams fiber, 18 grams protein


*****

I’m submitting this pasta dish to Natasha’s 5 Star Makeover challenge for April.

Comments

  1. Wow, a chocolate pasta sounds amazing – and in combination with the spicy chilies, just perfect! We will definitely have to try this! An awesome entry for the 5 Star Makeover, I love it!

  2. Ummm…chocolate pasta? why yes, please. I’ve been wanting to try something like that for a quite a while. Either by trying to make it or just by buying a pack of it somewhere. Nice!!!!!

  3. Chocolate pasta? I really wanna try that.

  4. What a unique and delicious-looking dish. That pasta is fascinating.

  5. chocolate, chile and cream – this sounds so unusually delicious.

  6. Chocolate pasta! How innovative.

  7. Chocolate pasta is a new one on me. It sounds delightful. What could beat 350 calories and a half hour of kitchen time?
    Sam

  8. I was excited to see this dish after seeing you were making it on Twitter! Looks so good – love chilis and chocolate! Marc from No Recipes also make a chocolate pasta that’s really great: http://www.norecipes.com/2010/04/01/chocolate-truffle-tagliatelle-recipe/

    • Awesome! I’ll check that recipe out for next time (because once you tatse chocolate pasta there’s no going back!!)

  9. what an incredible recipe…and good for you too? i’ll take it :)

  10. I love interestingly flavored pastas like this. A while ago, I bought some from pappardelle’s pasta and had a ball trying to think of dishes to go with them. This looks like the perfect combination of ingredients to compliment the undertones of cocoa!

  11. wow! it sounded really interested and it looks gorgeous. I love the idea of the light cream sauce! and the zuke ribbons sound like a perfect pair!

  12. Umm, chocolate pasta? Gimme.

  13. sounds so good! where do you buy chocolate pasta?

  14. You’ve sold me! I’m very curious to try this if I can get my hands on that pasta. I wonder could I get it from Whole Foods or does it have to be a special order?
    Will be saving this recipe and giving it a go. Lovely post. =)

    • You might be able to find it there… we unfortunately don’t have a WF here. You can order through the link above, or make it at home. I linked to one recipe and there’s another in the comments. Just stay away from any that have sugar, since those are dessert pastas and will be too sweet

  15. oh wow cool pasta kind of like when I made choc espresso bread not sweet your so cool how you find these ingredients

    • Yeah, I was a little nervous that it would be super sweet, but it as really just the aroma which was awesome. I like to keep an eye out for fun ingredients everywhere I go!

  16. Wow! This looks incredible! I’m definitely putting Hotel Chocolat on my list of places to visit on my next trip to Boston. Can’t wait!

    • Be careful – the place is dangerous! ;) I ended up buying chocolates too – top notch. Very smooth and creamy, but full flavored. Pricey though.

  17. I have to get my hands on this pasta! You chose such a wonderful combination of flavors.

  18. I have seen chocolate pasta in Switzerland but did not dare to try yet. Thought the idea is a little weird, now having you said the chocolatey is not overpowered, maybe I should try some time. We have chocolate ravioli here too.

  19. Chocolate pasta – fascinating. I haven’t visited your blog in a bit, it looks gorgeous!

  20. I really like what you did with this cocoa pasta! I bet it was a joy to eat.

  21. Lauren, that is absolutely gorgeous. Never seen chocolate pasta before, will have to look out for it!

  22. Very interesting dish. I love the colors. I’m not sure where I would find chocolate pasta. I’ll have to google it and see if I could buy it online.

  23. This is the most delicious looking meal I have seen in a LONG time.

  24. Not going to lie.. the chocolate pasta thing kind of turned me off at first, but I am still interested after reading more. I didn’t think I would like anything sweet, but perhaps the cocoa isn’t as strong as I’m imagining. Your dish looks neat though!
    -Sylvia
    Arizona Solar

  25. Found your recipe searching for dishes using chocolate pasta! Then I read that you got your pasta at Hotel Chocolat! Same place I got mine! Appreciate your comments on the taste – it sure smells chocolately in the package! Anyway yours is the first I’ve found that doesn’t use a dessert treatment… Intuitively I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do… (My package has a recipe for a salmon dish on it.) I am going to give this a try – no shortage of chiles here in Austin! Wish me luck!

  26. a dessert pasta sounds awesome … funny, a chef just asked me if I had ever heard of this — I said, it is a 1st … thanks … a must try out ur recipe.
    Journalist

  27. I had a bag of this Hotel Chocolat pasta sitting in my cupboard for a couple of years (I got it as a Christmas present) and finally decided to have a go at cooking it.

    My boyfriend wasn’t too keen on the idea of chocolate pasta (messes with his head too much!) But I have to say, this recipe was spot on. The flavours complemented each other so well, and it was a complete pleasure to cook. So simple, but so many lovely flavours working well together.

    The colours look great in the plate too – the green courgettes, brown pasta, creamy sauce and peppery chicken. Yum yum yum.

    Thank you so much!

    x

  28. hurray for a savory recipe without whipped cream!

  29. What a delicious meal, i was one of the big fan of chocolate, I’m sure I’ll try to make this one. Busana Wanita Online

  30. Nicely written up recipe, thank you. Sadly, I have to offer a word of caution in that the rest of my family found two chilles was too spicy for them. The recipe says it’ll mellow but I found it really didn’t. If I were to ever do it again, I’d use one chilli with the seeds removed. Still, a different dish and an interesting way to make use of an odd gift. Thanks again!

    • Lauren Keating says:

      I’m so sorry that it was too spicy! We do tend to like hot foods, but I wonder if my peppers were just more mellow in general. It’s always tough with peppers because the level of heat can vary so much/

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