Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rigatoni with Sunchokes, Italian Peppers, and Crosnes

Goodness. A week has gone by and I never showed you what I did with the goodies I got at the Green Market last Saturday. Misreall commented that the crosnes might make a good peppery potato soup, and that did sound good, but I had already cooked them up.

I pretty much put everything into one dish. I roasted and peeled the peppers, then washed, sliced and blanched the sunchokes, and made Rigatoni with Sunchokes, Italian Peppers, and Crosnes.

I decided to use the absorption method for the pasta, which was a little iffy because it was the first time I used the method for an entire package of pasta, rather than just making it a serving at a time. I started out by sauteeing the shallots, adding the crosnes, and then the whole wheat pasta, continuing to cook for about two minutes. The pasta started to sizzle a little, and the smell of toasted wheat wafted up from the skillet. That's one of my favorite parts of cooking pasta this way - that warm toasty smell.

After the two minutes, I added about a cup of hot chicken stock. I covered the skillet, lowered the heat, and let the pasta cook for about ten minutes. I added a little more stock, the sunchokes and the peppers and let it cook for about ten minutes more, until the pasta was done.

And now for the fun part. You might be wondering what those little brown flecks on top of the finished dish are. Well, if you've been following along on my absorption pasta obsession from the beginning, you'll remember that I got the method from Clothilde at Chocolate & Zucchini. In her original recipe, she used toasted cacao nibs. I'd never heard of them before and did a little research. I hadn't seen them in any stores here so I figured I'd have to get them online if I wanted them.

But last Saturday at The Spice House, I saw them sitting in a jar on the shelf with the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. It's one of the impulse items that came home with the oregano that day.

They're a little lighter in the photo. Here, they look like pecan shell pieces. But they taste like pure chocolate. Like cinnamon, there's the slightest hint of sweetness, more by association than by presence. It's ideal for savory applications. It was delicious with the pasta. I will definitely be experimenting with this, and I think I may have found my spice for Danielle's spice event over at Habeas Brulee.

Gosh. I sure hope I write more posts before next week. As for the pasta, it was ok, but I think the absorption method works best with single portions. In order to cook the pasta evenly, it needed more liquid than could be absorbed by the end of the process. I will make this again, but I think I'll make the sauce separately and cook the pasta the traditional way.


Anonymous said...

have to love the spice house!!!
just a note, they sell the cacao nibs at stantley's as well. do you ever make it over there, great selection. that is where i got all my produce for my halloween dinner. they have a lot of hard to find greens, and at great prices.

Anonymous said...

Is this your entry?

I love cocoa nibs. I use them to make rugelach, ice cream, and whipped cream all the time. And just to munch on.

dejamo said...

You know, I've never been to Stanley's but have been wanting to for the longest time. I'm thinking maybe I should head over there and see what they have.

Danielle, this is not my entry. I have something else in mind for the nibs. I'm just beginning to scratch that surface, as you'll see in a post that's coming up.

I'll send you an official email when I've done my Spice Is Right post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...