How To Make Chocolate Pasta

Cocoa Pasta

1/2 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed) 
3 1/2 cup caputo 00 flour 
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 large eggs
1/4 cup water (this measurement may vary) 

1. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, caputo flour and salt.  Using your hands, make a well in the center of the flour. Crack each of the eggs into the center of the well. Mix the entire mixture together until the dough forms. If it's dry, you may need to add a bit of flour. This will depend on the humidity that day. I added about 1/4 cup of water. 

2. Flour the counter, liberally. Dump out the dough and knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest on the counter for 30 minutes or transfer it to the fridge to rest overnight. *If you do let it rest overnight, be sure to remove it from the fridge 2 hours before rolling it out; if you don't, you're gonna be in for a workout - read: super cold dough = hard to roll. 

3. Flour your rolling pin and lightly flour your counter. Cut the dough into thirds and roll out one of the thirds until it's about 1/4-inch-thick.  Set your pasta maker to "2". Pass the pasta through the maker. After each pass, set the maker up by one…"3", "4", "5" and then stop at "6". Cut the pasta sheet into 1-inch strips for pappardelle. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. 

Butternut Squash Sauce: 

Quick pickled chiles:
2 fresno chile or California green chile, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 garlic clove
1 (2 pound) butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped and discarded
Olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1/2 garlic clove) 
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
4-6 kale leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup fresh ricotta, divided
Black pepper
2 tablespoons pumpkin oil, divided 

1. Place the sliced chiles in a mason jar or small bowl. In a small saucepan, add the water, red wine vinegar, sugar and garlic clove. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid reaches a light boil. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the sliced chile, allow them to cool to room temperature. So here's the deal: if you have time, allow the chiles to pickle overnight. This is ideal. But if you don't, start this step first so the chiles have the longest time possible to pickle before you serve the dish. 

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the butternut squash with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and place the squash halves flesh-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is tender when poked with the tines of a fork. 

3. Scoop out the butternut squash flesh and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the minced garlic, pour in the heavy cream and melted butter. Blend until very smooth, about a minute. Add a few pinches of salt to taste and then set aside. 

4. To a large pan, add two tablespoons of butter. Cook until the foam and bubbles subside and the butter turns brown in color and smells wonderful and nutty, about 2-3 minutes. Add the kale leaves and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the butternut squash puree and heat until very warm. 

5. Meanwhile, bring a liberally-salted pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 30 seconds to a minute, until al dente. Transfer the pasta to the skillet with the butternut squash sauce, along with a few chiles; toss the pasta until completely coated. Divide between plates. Top with a dollop of ricotta, a sprinkling of black pepper and a drizzle of pumpkin oil. Serve immediately. 

Serves 4