Chocolate Truffle Tagliatelle

Chocolate tagliatelle tossed with cacao nibs, black truffle, chestnuts and cheese

When I’m in a creative rut and the ideas are flowing about as fast as a new jar of ketchup, I try to make myself see an old ingredient with new eyes. I imagine myself as a chef from a foreign land who’s never laid tastebuds on the ingredient, throwing out all preconceptions of how it should or shouldn’t be used. This process often results in new and interesting combinations and exposes the hidden walls of convention that hold us all prisoner.

Take chocolate for example, it’s a word that conjures images of sweet decadence and may as well be a synonym for dessert. But at its core, the roasted cocao beans that chocolate is made of could be described with adjectives such as earthy, nutty, and warm. These are words that don’t necessarily go with “sweet” and could even be used to describe other ingredients such as wheat, mushrooms, and aged cheese. So what can you make from cacao, wheat, mushrooms and aged cheese?

Cocoa dough kneading for Tagliatelle with black truffles

Yep, you guessed it, I put it in the pasta. This isn’t some sweet mimicry of a pasta used in a dessert, I’m talking about a real, savoury pasta like one you might find in a Trattoria in Emilia-Romagna. A minimalist preparation with each ingredient contributing to the dish without being an intrusive prima donna stealing the spotlight for itself.

The noodles have a wonderful toothsome chew and nutty flavour, thanks to the chapati flour and cocoa powder. It doesn’t taste overtly of chocolate but it’s subtly present and the cacao nibs add an edge to the dish from both a textural and flavour perspective. Roasted chestnuts bring a sweet creamy element that’s a nice contrast to the sharp, savoury flavours pervading the dish. Gruyere cheese adds salt, umami, and depth, and finally the shaved black truffles marries all the earthy tastes under one luxurious unifying flavour.

Tagliatelle with cacao nibs, chestnuts and black truffles

It’s a chocoholics dream, and even chocolate haters should have something good to say about this one. It’s not the simplest pasta I’ve ever come up with (although I did make it on a weeknight), but it’s quite possibly the tastiest pasta I’ve ever made.

Chocolate Truffle Tagliatelle

1 C chapati flour (can be found at Indian grocery stores)
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 Tbs olive oil
2.5 oz gruyere cheese freshly grated
2 Tbs roasted cacao nibs
10 roasted chestnuts crumbled
1.5 oz black truffle
smoked sea salt
minced parsley for garnish

Knead flours, cocoa, salt and eggs together until combined, the dough will still be crumbly. Add water, one teaspoon at a time until the dough holds together without being sticky. Continue kneading until the dough takes on a satiny sheen and is very elastic (2-4 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour at room temperature.

Start heating a large pot of salted water. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces then run it through a pasta roller to the second to the last setting (#7 on a Kitchenaid). After rolling each sheet of pasta out, dust it generously with flour and hang. When you’re done rolling out the pasta, switch to the tagliatelle cutter attachment and cut the pasta, dust with flour again and hang.

When the water comes to a boil, add all the pasta at once. It will take less than a minute to cook, so be prepared with a colander. When it’s al dente, drain the pasta and shake off any excess water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Add the cheese, cacao nibs, and shave the truffle on top. Toss the pasta to evenly distribute everything.

Plate, then garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and a pinch of smoked sea salt.

  • http://thelacquerspoon.blogspot.com the lacquer spoon

    Really interesting to imagine how a hint of cocoa works for pasta :)

  • http://korasoi.blogspt.com/ Sanjana @ KO Rasoi

    Marc, this is absoloutely stunning. I can imagine the earthy, wholesome taste of your pasta.

  • http://the-cooking-of-joy.blogspot.com/ Joy

    Haha, I'm not sure if this is an April Fool's Day joke or not…

  • http://invitadoinviernoeng.blogspot.com/ Miriam/The Winter Guest

    I think this is a brilliant idea! I've got to try it and I love chestnuts too.

  • ginnygetsfloury

    What a great idea! I love it! :)

  • http://www.dashofnutmeg.com/ Meg @ A Dash of Nutmeg

    Oh this sounds so lovely!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    You never cease to amaze me Marc…another fine creation! When I first saw the title I thought it was some sort of dessert! I can imagine this tasting delightful!

  • http://www.highlowfooddrink.com/ Andrea @ High/Low

    Beautiful! You're so right that cocoa can be a savoury ingredient – like in mole sauce. Plus adding black truffles on anything would make me salivate!

  • http://twitter.com/sugarbardiva davina

    Oh I've seen chocolate pasta before and was always so tempted to try it!! YUM. This combination of ingredients doesn't sound crazy at all and if it did, it's a good crazy. Happy Easter Marc!

  • http://ww.foodmayhem.com/ Jessica Lee Binder

    Marc, you're bring some for lunch right?

  • graceniwa

    I'm so curious to how this tastes as I'm a chocoholic…photos are wonderful.

  • http://bunkycooks.com/ bunkycooks

    It is unusual, but certainly worth a try! The pics are beautiful

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.com/ Divina

    That sounds wonderful and my kind of pasta. That is very creative and ingenious. This is definitely worth a try.

  • vanillasugar

    man that sounds good!

  • http://twitter.com/wokstar Eleanor Hoh

    Marc, you totally blow me away with every new post. You're not only a good writer, blogger and photographer but you have a knack for making complicated things sound simple. I need to 'learn' that. Thanks for sharing your genius creations. Do you ever sleep?

    I saw some 'crazy' combination pastas at a recent farmers' market and will take some photos next time.

  • http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/ tasteofbeirut

    WOW
    I sure would like to have a bite of this! Incredible!

  • http://www.sweetonveg.com/ Jennifer

    What a BRILLIANT idea!! It's like the best of both worlds!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    This actually sounds…amazing :D Was a little dubious at first but reading the ingredient list it totally makes sense. Love the idea of being a foreign chef approaching an ingredient for the first time, very cool!

  • http://thelittleteochew.blogspot.com/ Ju

    Marc, that is GENIUS.

  • http://lostpastremembered.blogspot.com/ deana@lostpastremembered

    You are right… I was incredulous.. but the combinations work.. a very adventurous combination!

  • cheffresco

    I love this pasta concept! Never ever have I tried chocolate pasta. Nicely done!

  • http://anediblesymphony.blogspot.com/ Muneeba

    I'm a huge fan of your beautiful blog … can't believe I haven't been here for a while .. my bad! But my goodness, look at this sensational pasta … I'm hooked again!

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  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com/ Claudia

    Outrageous Marc, I want to try making this. We have no Indian markets here, so what else would work for the chapati flour?

  • norecipes

    Hi Claudia, you could just use regular all-purpose, or if you can get
    your hands on semolina do a 50/50 mixture of semolina and all-purpose.

  • http://colloquialcooking.com/ Colloquial Cook

    You might get your hand slapped by a grumpy Emilia Romagna mamma for putting Gruyère on your pasta. It's ok, I can tackle the mamma before she attacks you and you could reward my heroic action with a taste of your choco-truffle pasta :)

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  • Alexandra

    I hope this isn't a dumb question. I live in San Francisco. Where can I get black truffles?

  • norecipes

    Not dumb at all, they aren't the easiest thing to find. If you go to a
    specialty foods store, they often have them jarred in olive oil. Try
    looking around the Ferry Building, my guess is that one of the stores
    there will have them. I'm pretty sure I've also seen fresh ones at the
    mushroom store there. If all else fails, try looking online there's a
    lot of places that will ship anywhere in the country. I got mine from
    http://www.gourmetattitude.com/

    • Cherrios73

      Try Dean & Deluca. They sell them by the ounce.

  • Pops Masch

    Ridiculous David “Pops” Masch

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  • niamh

    i think it looks disgusting , who would have chocolate pasta

  • amy

    pasta is ment to be savoury …….. its abit dumb?

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Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!