The deep rich taste of this chocolate pasta is spiced by a kick of red chili oil. But the ricotta cheese and avocado tame the heat, leaving you with a balanced baked pasta dish.
When I was living in California, Jonathan always brought back chocolates for me from London every time he visited (he’s a sweet one!). One of my favorite chocolates came from Hotel Chocolat, a British chocolatier and cocoa grower. It’s a pretty fascinating company because they’ve consolidated all the steps of the chocolate process – from growing cocoa, to making chocolate, to selling it. It’s even possible to visit their plantation hotel in Saint Lucia! Talk about a luxury vacation for a chocolate lover! I’ve come across them a few times since being in London, and each time, I stop by some chocospiration.
Today I went for a run to try out a coffee shop that is all the rave here – Monmouth. The verdict? Delicately delicious! But even better, next door is the Hotel Chocolat boutique store. I popped in and found me some chocolate pasta. I came back with 2 bags – one for today, one for later. Today’s is Chocolate Pasta con Chili and Ricotta. What’s for later?
Chocolate Pasta con Chili and Ricotta Recipe
Pasta Bake and Sauce
– 200g chocolate penne pasta
– 2 tbs olive oil
– 270g sweet cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
– 250g ricotta cheese
– 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
– 1/2 large ripe avocado, sliced
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 chili peppers, thinly sliced into circles
Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the chocolate pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add in the tomatoes. Simmer the tomatoes for about 5 minutes, until they soften. Use a spatula and slightly press down on each tomato half, causing the skin to slightly peel away. Add in the sweet corn kernels and simmer an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the stove, add in the pasta, and mix well.
Preheat oven to 204C (400F). In an oven safe dish, add in half of the pasta mixture. Using a spoon or your hands, sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese over the pasta mixture in large chunks. Layer on the remaining pasta mixture and the remaining ricotta cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, uncovered.
In the meantime, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in the chili peppers. I added in all of the seeds also, but you may discard some seeds to control the heat. Heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once you remove the pasta from the oven, let it cool for about 5 minutes. Then slowly spoon the chili oil over the pasta. Again, to control the heat, you may or may not want to add the actual chili pepper or the seeds over the pasta bake. Pair with the avocado slices.