Pasta, Pizza, Risotto

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

Loreto February 14, 2017

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Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear, a dish with romantic flavors and tantalizing textures, a great way to show your valentine how much you adore them!

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

[This post is sponsored by the  Italian Centre Shop. We were financially compensated but, as always, all opinions are completely our own].

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear,  here is a dish with the wow factor, beautiful homemade chocolate fettuccine, tender, amazing taste profile, with a sauce of melted Gorgonzola, walnuts and pear, hosting multiple textures and unique flavors. A perfect dish for that romantic Valentines dinner!

 

 

Fettuccine is a pasta I love. It has more of a surface for sauces to linger on and especially homemade makes it so tender. So when we were thinking of a recipe for Valentine’s day, Nicoletta and I were thinking chocolate and pasta, that is when Nicoletta I went to work on the creative train and came up with a great Italian recipe for Fettuccine al Cacao. In Italy, it is a favorite amongst many.

Let’s backtrack a bit. It is Valentine’s day and yes the commercial side of it can be a bit overwhelming, between an abundance of chocolaty treats, to roses, and anything with a red heart. For me, Valentines is about giving from the heart and I don’t reserve that only for Valentine’s day. I try every day to live my life that way and also to show Nicoletta how much she means to me.

When I was young in elementary school Valentines always made me so nervous. Who was I going to give valentines cards to, and which valentines card package would be the right one to choose. There were some years of very few Valentines cards and there was always that “how many did you get? let’s see”, very embarrassing when you only had a few and they had handfuls. It was devastating when the girl you liked didn’t even acknowledge you in a Valentine’s gesture. These are the growing pains of adolescence, but I made it through and now I am married to a most beautiful, talented, loving wife Nicoletta!

One of my most memorable Valentine’s day happened when I was in Junior high school. The school had a dance and there was a carnival. I had just started to lose my baby fat, I know kinda late, lol. That is the problem with living in an Italian family with a mother who wants you to eat, and eat, and eat. A ploy to keep the girls away and to ensure them that you will take care of them forever. I revolted and started to exercise much more than eating and the pounds were coming off. It was an awkward time, but something happened that to this day I never forget. I partook in a cake walk where you had to walk on the cake symbols till the music stopped and then see if they called out the number that was on the cake. Well, I was walking to the beat of the music and then it stopped. It was as if time stood still and everything went slow mode. A number was called, I did not even hear it until I was broken out of my daydream with the other kids yelling, YOU WON! YOU WON! I was thinking impossible, I don’t win anything, there must be a mistake but no mistake made and my friends pulled me up to one of the teachers and she handed me a heart shaped cake in a red tin with loads and loads of icing. I was in heaven. There is a God and he does love me. I ran home that day cake in my tight grips, entering the house to tell my mom the news. I sat and watched that cake on the table in awe of its magnificence, and that finally I was acknowledged on Valentine’s day by something so spectacular. I didn’t even want to eat the cake. I imagined ways I could preserve it. Freeze it, or perhaps dry it out and frame it. Then I thought, no I am going to eat it and preserve it in the folds of my mind, from the aroma of the chocolate to the moistness and tenderness of the cake, and finally the richness of that wonderful chocolaty frosting. I take this memory out once in a while when I feel I am not worthy, and it reminds me that I am worthy!

Back from the past and into the future with a wonderful dish: Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear.

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

Fettuccine, who would have ever thought that I would be making it, homemade and with the woman of my dreams. Nicoletta has so many rich memories or her nonna making beautiful precise fettuccine by hand, no machines just a rolling pin, a sharp knife and a precision one would think could only have been done by a machine. Nonni have that specialness, that lends us great stories and memories. Well, today it’s our turn to make our nonni proud.

Being sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop is wonderful. So many great things to see, buy and experience, and if making pasta, a great place to find some organic free range chicken eggs, double zero flour, and a great quality cocoa. For the sauce, a trip to the cheese counter to find that pungent and fresh Gorgonzola, then to the nut bins which always reminds me of Italian markets, to get walnuts, and finally to the produce aisle for a nice pear. I love the ambiance of this store, people passionate about food, shopping for those special meals they are going to prepare, the Italian language rambling in the background, and that smell of coffee brewing, absolutely wonderful, and one that has Nicoletta and my attention, so a cappuccino is in order.

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

One thing I want to say is that Nicoletta has the hands to work the dough. She knows the feel of the dough from start to finish and you know it has been done well when you taste it. I love the color of these chocolate fettuccine, a nice deep brown, and the smell of that cacao mixed in the dough is wonderful, makes nothing but smiles and happiness. We started the dough in a food processor then Nicoletta finished it by hand. One thing that is of utmost importance when making homemade pasta is to let the dough rest for a while, at least half an hour.

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

This is the part I love best. The making of the pasta. Just up until recently we had the hand crank version of the pasta maker, but this time we are using the kitchen aid and the pasta making attachments. From making the sheets of pasta to cutting the fettuccine went extremely well and so quick. Automation is a great thing, but I have to admit I miss the nostalgia of olden times a bit. With the fettuccine all nice and cut and resting on a pasta rack we found at a house sale, we are set to finishing this recipe.

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

In the pan goes the Gorgonzola, cubed, as it makes it easier to melt, a bit of butter to add its richness, and the half and half cream to give us a wonderful velvety sauce that will bath that fettuccine in a most blissful way. In goes the walnuts and as this sauce was being prepared I boiled some salted water and the fettuccine went in. One thing about homemade pasta is it cooks really fast, like only a few minutes and it is done. Usually when it comes to the surface and is floating it is ready. When done, it goes into the pan with the sauce for a quick toss, and finally, those nicely cubed pieces of succulent pear go in at the very end, and we are ready to eat!

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

Plating is important, they say we first eat with our eyes, and if the pasta is just thrown on a plate and looks messy, it can be a bit of a turn-off. Not in this case, a nice spun mound of fettuccine all coated with that luxurious sauce. Those golden morsels of walnuts giving us hints of texture, and that pear a beautiful reminder of the freshness and delicateness of this dish.

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

The flavor is amazing with that slight hint of cocoa in the pasta, the Gorgonzola with its pungent character, pairing well with that peppiness of the cocoa, the earthiness of the walnuts, to be subdued a bit by the sweetness of the pear. The textures are wild. The pasta, tender, al dente, the walnuts add a pleasant crunch, and the pear, moist, juicy and not too cooked, matching the nature of the pasta so well.

It is Valentine’s day, and you want to do something special for that special someone,  get the flour dusting and eggs a cracking, and whip up a delicious and luxurious Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnut, and Pear. One that you can enjoy on a beautifully prepared table, pulling no stops to show that one how much you care for them!

Song of the day: “Play that Song”, by Train.

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Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

  • Author: Loreto and Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Description

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear, a dish with romantic flavors and tantalizing textures, a great way to show your valentine how much you adore them!


Ingredients

Dough:

  • 200 g 00 flour
  • 2 free range organic eggs
  • 25 g unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons water (more or less as needed)

Sauce:

  • 170 g Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
  • 100 ml half and half cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pear peeled and cubed

Instructions

  1. In a food processor combine flour, cocoa, salt, eggs and add water one spoon at a time as needed, pulsing until the dough comes off the side of the processor bowl.
  2. Place dough onto a floured working surface. Work dough until it feels smooth and homogeneous to touch. Form into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest in a cool place for 1 hour.
  3. After the resting time, unwrap the dough and cut into 1 cm thick slices. Cover the slices with flour.
  4. Stretch dough in a pasta machine on the smooth roller side, starting at 1 and working the dough up to a 5 thickness, then lay the sheets on a floured surface.
  5. Run each sheet through the fettuccine cutter and place on a pasta rack or floured baking sheet. (N.B If the sheets are too long for this stage, cut in half before rolling through the cutter).
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and start to make the sauce. The fettuccine will take 3/4 minutes to cook.
  7. In a sauté pan at medium to low heat add gorgonzola cubes. When gorgonzola starts to melt, add half and half cream.
  8. Throw in butter and simmer until sauce starts to form.
  9. Crush walnuts a bit in a mortar and pestle with some salt and pepper.
  10. Add walnuts to the sauce, stir, and at the end add cubed pear.
  11. Check that fettuccine is al dente and add to the sauce in the sauté pan. It’s okay to include some of the pasta water, this will thin the sauce a little.
  12. Toss well to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed.
  13. Plate and serve immediately.

Notes

Note: The dough is enough to make fettuccine for 4. So, if you want to dry and keep some of the fettuccine for later use, shape it in round nests and let dry on a baking sheet at room temperature. Then store in a plastic bag or container.
Suggested wine: we paired the fettuccine with a Brunello di Montalcino and it was wonderful. The richness of the red Brunello really complemented the cocoa flavor in the pasta.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 servings

Fettuccine al Cacao with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pear

[This post is sponsored by the  Italian Centre Shop. We were financially compensated but, as always, all opinions are completely our own].

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8 Comments

  • Reply adina February 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I received a pasta machine for Christmas two years ago and used it once… I find it so complicated, yet I would love to be able to eat such interesting noodles. I can’t even imagine how this cacao gorgonzola combination tastes like, but I would love to try it. Funny story, I liked reading it. 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Hi Adina, so glad you liked the story. I loved writing it, brought me back in time. As for the pasta. If you like Gorgonzola you are going to love the flavors. Imagine cocoa without the sugar it is like a dark dark chocolate kind of peppery. Then the Gorgonzola with it’s musky deep rich cheese flavor just goes so well with the nature of the pasta. Then in comes some earthy walnut to mix things up a bit, and the finally sweet pear, a beautiful dichotomy of sweet and savory. I hope you try this, and don’t be too afraid of the pasta machine. It is kind of like when you were little and there was that one person in school everyone thought was mean, and aloof. If you got to know them and went in not knowing, you would find out they had good qualities. I think once you get to know your pasta machine, it will become your best friend.
      Great day to you!
      Loreto

  • Reply Margaret @ Kitchen Frau February 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I loved your story, Loreto. It brought me back to my school days so poignantly. I too remember that awful waiting to see if you’d get enough Valentines not to be noticed and remarked on by others. And those high school dances – agonizing embarrassment for a shy girl like me. But your wonderful pasta brought back feelings of joy and light. Such a lovely dish – simple, elegant, and warm, complex flavours. Bravo.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 15, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Margaret, thank you so much for your beautiful comment. That’s what I love about blogging it helps us share moments in our lives and not feel alone in our experiences, and rejoice in things that bring happiness. You are right on all counts this dish was simple, elegant and warm, and knowing you now, I can see how much warmth you bring to your food and kitchen. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Raymond.
      TWSYA (Till we see you again)
      Loreto

  • Reply Dawn @ Girl Heart Food February 14, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    I remember in school having the little Valentine’s boxes made out of shoe boxes and we would all exchange Valentine’s. So fun to reminisce. Such a cute story you told and so funny that you didn’t even want to eat the cake, you were just happy you won! I think we’ve all been there some time or another 🙂
    I’ve never heard of a dessert pasta before, but saw your pic on Instagram and had to check it out. I was just telling hubby about it. I can imagine all the flavours with the cocoa, gorgonzola, walnuts and pear. Sounds SO good! Pinning and have to try this one soon. Hubby is the pasta maker in our home so I’ll have to put in my request 😉 Happy Valentine’s Day to you guys!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 15, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Hi Dawn, Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you so much for checking out this dish. This fettuccine is amazing. Not a dessert, it is not sweet just has cocoa, eggs, flour and salt, so in combination with the Gorgonzola, walnuts and then the sweet pear, the cocoa adds a dark pepperiness to the dish, absolutely heaven in a bowl. I am so excited for you to try this, and I am sure your hubby is going to love the aroma of this pasta.
      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Cheers
      loreto

  • Reply Ayngelina (@Ayngelina) February 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    How have I never thought to make pasta with cacao?? This looks amazing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 23, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Thank you Ayngelina, We had never made it before either. We were a bit nervous going into uncharted grounds, but in the end quite pleased with the outcome. I would suggest diving right into making this wonderful pasta dish.
      Happy Pasta making!
      Loreto

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