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Tastes pastaandwine

Published on September 12th, 2011 | by Ruth

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Qupe Roussanne, Quivira Grenache, And Lucero Chocolate Olive Oil With Chocolate Pasta

We created a rather decadent, decidedly satisfying dinner to pair with two wines, the 2008 Qupe Roussanne Bien Nacido Vineyard Hillside Estate from Santa Maria Valley and the 2009 Quivira Grenache Wine Creek Ranch from Dry Creek Valley. We drank the Roussanne with home-made lemon thyme pasta, and the Grenache with a savory-sweet chocolate pasta of our own creation (using the fascinating Lucero Chocolate Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

The Roussanne has a reserved smell that doesn’t tell the full story- we expected something light and perhaps a bit bland. We were pleasantly surprised to find it full of character- juicy, smooth, a little acidic.  We tasted spicy white pepper, apricots, pluots, cantaloupe and honey. At $40 it’s not a bottle we’d be able to justify drinking on a nightly basis, but would bring to a dinner party or have on hand for nights when we feel fancy. It was fantastic with our lemon-thyme pasta (drizzled in olive oil and accompanied by bell peppers). This wine is definitely worth the price tag, at least.

We drank the Grenache with our chocolate pasta (topped with sauteed pears and balsamic reduction). It’s solid and full-bodied, with a blackberry nose and tastes of vanilla and tobacco. It has enough gumption to stand up to the cocoa in the pasta, while the fruit in the wine went beautifully with the pears. It has the additional plus of being biodynamic- 100% certified organic. Normally we find something in organic wines the tastes, counterintuitively, metallic or chemically. This wine had none of that- simply lovely to drink. At $26, we think you should grab a bottle and try it with the chocolate pasta yourself. (Recipe below.)

So, chocolate pasta? Stemming from discussions about pasta variations, and the power of making your own pasta, Greg requested chocolate pasta. (Look for other types forthcoming. We’re still working on the peanut butter…) After a preliminary search, we didn’t find any recipes that excited us. Thus, this recipe was born. We wanted to make something that was clearly chocolate, but still in the realm of dinner food. The chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder and Lucero’s fantastic Chocolate Olive Oil.  When we first looked at the $17 bottle, we were a bit skeptical. From a spoon, it’s clearly a lovely olive oil, and chocolate. In the pasta it added great flavor. We also added just enough sugar to balance the bitterness of the cocoa, and a good dash of cayenne to give it a little zip.

Savory Chocolate Dinner Pasta (by Ruth Hoffman)

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)

1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 tablespoon sugar

a dash of Cayenne

3 eggs

1 tablespoon Lucero Chocolate-Infused Olive Oil

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water

Equipment: Cuisinart (or other food processor) and Kitchen Aid with Pasta Attachment

Preparations:

Make dough:

Pulse together all ingredients in the Cuisinart (except for the extra water and extra flour) until mixture just begins to form a ball. If the mixture appears too dry or seems reluctant to ball, add extra 1/2 tablespoon water. Knead dough on a flat surface, adding extra flour  as needed, until smooth and elastic (About eight minutes.). Divide dough into four pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough:

Attach the kitchen aid pasta roller attachment. If this is your first time using it, make sure that the end square rests firmly in the groove- sometimes it takes a bit of twisting. Also remember to screw the nob into the groove point of the attachment each time- the falling pasta attachment is hazardous to toes. Set the smooth rollers on “1″ – the widest setting and turn on the Kitchen Aid to the 2-4 power setting range. Flatten one of the dough sections and send it through the rollers, catching it as it comes out. Set the rollers to “3″ and repeat. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough strip in half length-wise if it grows unwieldy. Set the rollers to “5″ and repeat a final time.

Cut Pasta:

Attach Pasta cutting attachment (I prefer the wider one.). Feed flattened pieces through the roller, catching the lovely noodles as they come through. Drape them over a cookie tray covered in parchment paper or a clean, dry towel. Gently detach them for each other to prevent clumping.

Cook in boiling water for 4 min., or until done to taste.

Pears sauteed in olive oil and balsamic reduction make a great accompaniment to this dish, along with some balsamic reduction drizzled over the top.

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About the Author

The ampersand tattoo on her shoulder goes a long way towards explaining Ruth's outlook on life: there's always an "and." With TrulyNet, Ruth enjoys working on social media and writing... and editing... and... Ruth went to the University of Oregon, where she studied music, dance and cognitive psychology (and sleeping very little). While there, she designed classes and taught arts enrichment to talented and gifted grade-school students. After graduation, Ruth spent several years as a Market Analyst at a large law firm in New York. Feeling the pull back to the west coast, Ruth moved to San Francisco and worked for Stanford for a year before deciding to focus on her passion for the arts. Ruth spends more time on Facebook that she cares to admit. When not attached to the computer, working for TrulyNet, or dancing, Ruth rock climbs, knits, swims, obsessively plays Boggle, plays games, plays tennis, cooks, sips beer, wine and whiskey, and travels seeking adventure.



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