Chocolate Pasta with Pecans and Caramel Sauce

FullSizeRender-1Hey people—I’m baaaa-aaack! Not that you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the latest posting or anything…I’m well aware I’m no Pioneer Woman! Been a tad cray-cray at my new job lately (my offspring LOVE it when their 50-ish mother gets all hip with the jive talk), as I’ve been trying to update our website and didn’t have a minute to spare. Now that it’s up and running, I can get back to an occasional recipe post.

Also, I have to say, I tried several new dishes in January and February that were bombs, and I won’t share what NOT to make with you. But this unusual chocolate pasta dish from Nigella Lawson is worth trying. I’d gotten Pappardelle’s chocolate pasta from my sister Judy for Christmas, because she knows I like to try weird ingredients and new recipes, but she’d apparently forgotten I’m not doing gluten. So I served it to a group of couples who had no dietary restrictions, and they said it was delicious! It’s more rich than sweet—like the Europeans eat, not the sugar-crazed Americans. You wouldn’t eat it every day or serve in place of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, but it was fun for something different. So, thanks Judy, for pushing my culinary buttons a little!

Serves 6

8 ounces cocoa or chocolate pasta
Pinch or two of salt
1 cup unsalted pecan nuts, roughly broken up
6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, plus more (optional), to serve

Fill a pot with water to make the pasta, and heat on high. When water starts boiling, add a pinch of salt and the pasta, and cook, setting a timer for 2 minutes before the package instructions say pasta will be done. Put a medium non-stick frying pan on the stove and tumble in the pecans, then toast them over medium heat. Once you can smell the pecans toasting, remove from heat and place on a cold plate.

Stir butter and sugar together in the frying pan over low heat, until you have a hot, thick syrup. Carefully, pour in the cream. Stir, and let the caramel mixture bubble up, then add the toasted pecans and a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat.

Just before draining the pasta, dip in a cup to remove a little pasta-cooking water, then toss the drained pasta into the frying pan with the dark and nutty caramel sauce, adding a tablespoon or two of the cooking water to help coat the pasta. Stir to combine before dividing between bowls. Serve with a little extra cream in a small pitcher to pour as you eat, if you wish.

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