Dark Chocolate Fettuccine & Vodka-Berry Ragu

A few decades ago, there was an establishment that opened up that premised its entire existence on the concept that chocolate could be the primary ingredient of every meal and that dessert could be served in three courses. Death by Chocolate was ahead of its time. Chocolate toast served with chocolate butter made way to a variety of cakes, mousses and drinks … but perhaps people just weren’t ready for chocolate pasta, chocolate chilli or chocolate roast lamb.

I was thinking about this the other day after I unwrapped my birthday gift of a electronic pasta machine. I wanted to christen the new machine by creating a pasta recipe I have not done before. One thing I have never done before? Dessert pasta!

Thus the idea was born.

INGREDIENTS

The Dark chocolate Fettuccine

  • 2 cups Italian “00” flour
  • 1 cup plaistowe dutch processed cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons raw castor sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (and pod saved for sauce)
  • Water as required to balance moisture
DIRECTIONS:
  • Go ahead and utilise the hand method as described in my earlier pasta dough making post
  • If using a pasta machine, then follow the instructions that came with your appliance.
  • Cut the pasta into fettuccine or use the correct attachment for the pasta maker to extrude it.
  • Once the pasta has had a chance to dry (an hour is usually good) cook as per normal – remembering that it will be ready in approximately 5-8 minutes (depending on how al dente or soft you like it)
INGREDIENTS
The Vodka-Berry Ragu
  • 500 g strawberries
  • 400 g cherries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 small lemon
  • teaspoon butter
  • The Saved vanilla pod
  • 2 Shots of vodka
  • Double cream, crushed pistachios and mint leaves for garnish
DIRECTIONS:
  • Cut and/or tear apart the cherries and strawberries into little pieces into a bowl
  • coat the berries with the castor sugar and toss to spread evenly
  • pip half the pomegranate in with the berries and squeeze the other. Add the pips and juice to the mix.
  • squeeze the lemon over the mix and set aside for ~10 minutes.
  • In a small pan, on low heat, heat up the butter and vanilla pod until the butter becomes a nutty brown colour
  • add the berries and increase to medium heat – stir regularly and allow to boil down.
  • Remove the pan from heat and empty the contents back into the original bowl. Use a sieve to drain the liquid back into the pan.
  • The “mince” of the ragu is created by using a spatula, grab the 3/4 of the berries and start squishing them against and through the sieve.
  • As the berries get to a jam consistency, scrape them out back into the pan and get the next batch.
  • Save a quarter of the berries to remain as chunks and place back in the pan.
  • Continue heating the mix and allowing the juices to reduce and thicken.
  • add the 2 shots of vodka towards the end and allow the alcohol to burn off
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool a little before scooping over the pasta.
  • If desired, decorate by place a dollop of double cream, sprinkled with crushed pistachios and a sprig of fresh mint on top …

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