“Just one question, Mom,” says my daughter, Sweet Thing Two to me as she opens the door. “Does it really matter how this dessert tastes? I mean, are these people going to taste it?”
“Really?” I thought it was obvious. The point is that I have to develop a recipe involving the penne pasta that Marx Foods sent me. This recipe will be shared, so if people will be eating it, it should taste good, right?
Earlier in the evening, we were using my kitchen at full capacity. Sweet Thing Two had been asked to participate in a church bake-off and was testing the recipe that she would use in the cupcakes that she planned to bake on the forthcoming Saturday.
I was working on my Marx Food Challenge recipe. The Cub was sitting at our island watching us cook. “I never would have known that this is better than watching TV! Hey…..can I make peanut butter cookies?”
I couldn’t believe my ears. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. He said once he stayed at his friend’s house and they used the recipe on the back of the peanut butter jar. We had all of the necessary ingredients and even had some mini chocolate chips, which The Cub wanted to include in his cookies.
So then there were three of us in the kitchen. It actually worked very well. I was putting together the components of the pasta recipe in my head, while the other two gathered their ingredients. I helped the Cub with the measurements for his cookies, and gave him pointers on how to use the hand mixer.
The cookies were delicious, the cupcakes were beautiful. As for my penne recipe…although it looked delicious, we all decided that the dish as a whole was not going to work.
On to plan B.
My alarm rang at 6:00 AM. “Oh no!”
The Loup Garoup sleeping beside me says, “What’s wrong?”
“Whew….never mind. It isn’t Monday, is it?”
“No, baby, it’s Sunday.”
Sunday. Today is the day. The deadline. D-Day. I think I have the answer, but I am sure there is a reason they call this a challenge.
Dinner for Dessert!
Marx food sent me some chocolate penne pasta, and I am to create an original recipe that is a dessert but looks like an entrée. This pasta looks like solid chocolate, which is a little deceiving. It is is a dried pasta that includes as an ingredient, cocoa! When I cooked the pasta, it was a novelty. Everyone had to try it…well almost anyone. The Loup Garou is not a fan of chocolate. Although the sauces that I prepared to accompany the dish were delicious, I was told by my children and also tasted that the problem with my first attempt was, of all things, the main ingredient. I realized that like any pasta dish, the sauces that were to accompany the pasta were supposed to compliment it. I needed something to bring out the chocolate flavor — something that would coat the pasta just like a tomato sauce!
I decided the best way to emphasize the chocolate is to make a chocolate sauce. A white chocolate custard sauce would provide balance, and a strawberry sauce on top should do the trick of making this dish look like an entrée. I used mint, and grated white chocolate on top as garnishes.
This dish works best when the chocolate sauce is allowed some time to absorb the sauce. Sweet thing two and I shared this dessert and enjoyed it. However, Sweet Thing One wasn’t crazy with the texture of the pasta in the sauce after it had been chilled. So I recommend serving at room temperature.
- 1 cup Cocoa Penne (http://Marxfoods.com/Chocolate-Pasta-Penne)
- 2 oz. chopped unsweetened chocolate
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 oz. white chocolate
- For the strawberry sauce:
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water (should taste like seawater) al dente.
- Drain the pasta in a colander. Put the pasta in a large bowl with a pat of butter (around a teaspoon) and toss until the pasta is coated. Put the bowl of pasta aside.
- Make the Chocolate Custard Sauce (Recipe from Irma Rombaurer's Joy of Cooking)
- Heat the unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler with 2 cups of milk, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted.
- Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, beat together 4 egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
- Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. When the ingredients are combined, put it back into the double boiler.
- Stir the chocolate sauce until thickened.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Make the white chocolate custard sauce:
- In a heavy saucepan add 1 cup of whipping cream, 1/2 cup milk. Heat until boiling. Remove from heat. Add 2 oz white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
- Beat 2 egg yolks and two eggs. Stir the eggs into the white chocolate and cream mixture. Stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Make the strawberry sauce:
- In a saucepan add sugar. Heat until melting. Stir in strawberries.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Cook until the strawberries have combined flavors with the other ingredients. Stir constantly.
- Remove cinnamon stick and cloves
- Puree the sauce in a blender.
- This sauce is best when fresh and is a great accompaniment to ice cream!
- In a small dish add a spoonful of chocolate pasta. To the pasta add a spoonful of the chocolate sauce. Toss to coat.
- On top of the pasta add a layer of the white chocolate custard.
- Add another layer of the chocolate pasta and top it with some more chocolate custard sauce.
- Finish with a spoon full of strawberry sauce. Garnish with chopped mint. Grate the remaining white chocolate and sprinkle on top.