Now is the perfect time to try something new, to do things a bit differently, and today we’re taking inspiration from our lovely Sfoglina, head chef Roberta. When she’s not teaching her wonderful pasta master classes, Roberta, a native of Puglia in the south of Italy, loves nothing more than crafting new recipes in her kitchen in London. From mouthwatering bignè alla crema to wholemeal lemon and ricotta tortelloni we’re always in awe of her creativity. Today we’re sharing with you Roberta’s special recipe for tagliatelle al cacao, roughly translating to “chocolate tagliatelle”.
Whilst this may not sound like a combination you need to try, we assure you that it’s absolutely worth it. The resulting pasta isn’t sickly sweet, in fact the cocoa powder, if anything, imbues the strands of tagliatelle with a delicious bitterness. Whilst this pasta could be enjoyed on its own, adorned simply with a generous knob of butter, Roberta suggests serving it with our delectable walnut pesto or even with a rich, cheesy sauce made with Gorgonzola, a Lombard delicacy.
Make Roberta’s Tagliatelle al Cacao
Prep Time: 1 hour (not including resting time for pasta dough)
- 200g ‘00’ Flour (plus more for work surface)
- 15g Cocoa powder
- 2 Large eggs
Chef’s Tip: The perfect ratio of eggs to flour is 1 egg for every 100 grams (this amount serves 1-2 people)
- Rolling pin
- Wooden board
- Pasta cutter or knife
Step 1: Making the Dough
- On a clean work surface or wooden board, pile your flour into a mound, sieve the cocoa powder on top of the flour.
- Make a well in the centre of the mound, large enough for the 2 eggs.
- Crack the eggs into the well.
- Beat the egg mixture with the fork, slowly pulling the flour from the sides of the well until the egg has all been absorbed by the flour. As the mixture thickens, start using your hands to continue incorporating the flour.
- If necessary, drizzle a small amount of warm water into the mixture and continue mixing until you have a ball of dough.
Step 2: Kneading the Dough
- Lightly flour your clean work surface.
- Knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
- Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. This process should be carried out around 10 times.
- Roll the dough back into a ball and repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent any stickiness.
- Repeat the process for about 10-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. Roll the dough into a smooth ball.
Step 3: Letting the Dough Rest
- Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator. If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before rolling and shaping.
Step 4: Rolling the Pasta
- Lightly flour your surface.
- Cut your dough into four even pieces, place 3 of them back in the bowl. Shape the first piece of dough into a rough circle.
- With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge. You can also use a pasta machine here if you have one.
- Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is 1/8 inch thin (roughly 2-3mm). Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 4 pasta sheets.
Step 5: Cutting the Pasta
- Place your first pasta sheet, now called a sfoglia, onto a clean and lightly floured work surface.
- Trim the ends and edges so that it is in an even rectangular shape, then use the knife to cut the dough into long strips, approximately 6mm wide.
- Gently lift the pasta strips in the air and place them onto a dishtowel, make sure they are separated.
- Repeat until each sheet has been turned into strands.
- At this point, you are ready to cook your pasta. If you made too much, you can freeze your pasta for up to a month. Read all about taking care of your pasta creations in our guide to storing fresh pasta.
Step 6: Cooking the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a generous amount of salt.
- Add your tagliatelle and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente (taste a piece before removing from the water).
- Drain the pasta and mix with your sauce or pesto. Buon appetito!
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