Some years ago, when we were still Dream Satellite subscribers and loyal fans of Discovery’s Travel and Living Channel, I saw David Rocco cook a pasta dish with chocolate sauce called penne al cioccolato. I grimaced as I watched him do it because I thought it was utterly disgusting. What a dolt I was to have passed judgment without trying the dish first. Well, I’ve since rectified my attitude.
Last night’s dinner was fettuccine al cioccolato but, instead of anchovies which David Rocco used, per Speedy’s suggestion, I substituted crisp bacon bits. The pasta and chocolate dish was just so good. The melted chocolate was like silk that coated the pasta. The subtle sweetness was both highlighted and offset by the saltiness of the bacon. An uncomplicated recipe that yields a dish with complex flavors and textures.
- 100 grams fettuccine cooked al dente in salted water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 100 grams belly bacon chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels (if using a chocolate bar, chop finely before measuring)
- 1/4 cup panko or regular unsweetened bread crumbs
- 1 pinch cayenne powder
- salt to taste
- chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a pan.
Add the chopped bacon and garlic. Sprinkle the cayenne powder over them. Over medium-high heat, cook until the bacon bits are browned and crisp.
Set the heat to low. Add the chocolate to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until melted. Add just enough salt to create the balance of sweet-salty flavor that you like.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Toss to coat the noodles with sauce.
Top the pasta with parsley and serve hot.
Dark chocolate is essential for this recipe. Sweeter chocolates like milk chocolate will not give the sauce the correct balance of flavor.