There are some classic couples.
Romeo & Juliet.
Laurel & Hardy.
Yin & Yang.
Movie night & popcorn.
Bread & butter.
Peanut butter & jelly.
Apple pie & vanilla ice cream.
Rhum & coke.
Rock & roll.
Now meet a not-so-classic couple : pasta & chocolate!
But first, a few words of deep wisdom on freedom.
Being a mommy means living in a golden jail cell of true happiness. I’m handcuffed to the little king night and day. He shines and rains over me. He cracks me up and tears me apart. He makes my day every single day. I wouldn’t give up that jail cell for anything.
Freedom is an inner thing. A state of mind. A state of heart.
Still, I find it hard to grasp, hard to keep from slipping through my fingers.
Whether life is good or bad, I can find freedom riding my bicycle. I ride for hours with the little king by my side, breathing through the smog, pretending I’m in downtown Beijing, aiming for that great wall (and great legs).
On that same bike, beside that same pure and innocent king, I may run into some anti-freedom activists. These postmodern communists loudly condemn my bad driving, deliberately trying to spoil my freedom on wheels. What they do not know is that they allow me to experience total freedom : I gladly flip them the bird! Is that too much freedom?
Almost daily, I also find freedom on the toilet seat.
It’s not what you think.
While the little king is busy developing is gross motor and intellectual skills in the bathtub, I get to enjoy a few moments of freedom sitting down on the cold white throne. I might surf the internet, read a book, learn mandarin, or just wander off.
A few months ago, I was leafing through an old forgotten cookbook of mine meanwhile getting soaking wet from all of the little king’s H2O experiments. I finally ended up in the chocolate section. After a fascinating exposé on the invention of mole poblano, the author, Daniel Pinard, a well-known french canadian foodie, starts going on and on about some traditionnal Florentine chocolate pasta dish.
By bedtime, it would be too late for me to make the last flight to Florence.
But it’s never too late to get cooking!
Pinard admits that he took the idea from Giuliano Bugialli, some italian cooking master. Being a free spirit, he added some capers and olives. For my part, I took out the ground beef, the pancetta, the beef stock and the olives, added some eggplant, and cooked up a delicious brown vegetarian noodle plate.
This brown savory dish is not as photogenic as I had hoped, but taste is what matters. The flavour of the sauce reminds me of caponata, but the chocolate takes it to a whole new level. The eggplant melts in your mouth, the noodles are chewy and the pecans remain slightly crunchy. Every bite is a yummy surprise.
Pairing pasta and chocolate is a great statement of freedom and I encourage you to try it.
You can try and make it authentic by serving it with fresh homemade cocoa scented pasta.
You can make it meaty by using ground beef and pancetta.
You can also gross me out by adding tons of garlic.
You can even make pretty if you’ve got some food styling skills.
Or you can be your own man and watch tv instead.
noodles with florentine sweet and sour sauce (print)
recipe adapted from pinardises
2 carrots, grated
1 spanish onion, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 italian eggplants, diced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
4 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
15 g bittersweet chocolate
grated parmigiano reggiano, for serving
grated bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, for serving
In a pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add a little salt and pepper. Add the eggplant and a little oil, if needed. Add salt and pepper, again, and saute until all the vegetables are soft.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two. Add the water and let it simmer covered for about 20 minutes.
Add the capers, raisins, pecans, vinegar and chocolate. Adjust seasonnig and keep simmering over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Serve with egg noodles.
Sprinkle grated parmigiano reggiano and chocolate on top, to taste.
nutrition facts : 239 calories; 16.6 g fat; 5.7 g dietary fibers; 13.9 g sugars; 3.2 g protein
nouilles florentines à la sauce aigre-douce (imprimer)
recette adaptée de pinardises
2 carottes, râpées
1 oignon espagnol, finement haché
4 branches de céleri, finement hachées
2 aubergines italiennes, coupées en dés
4 c. à soupe de pâte de tomate
1 tasse d’eau
4 c. à soupe de câpres
1/2 tasse de raisins secs
1/2 tasse de pacanes
1/4 tasse de vinaigre de vin rouge
15 g de chocolat mi-sucré
parmigiano reggiano, râpé
chocolat mi-sucré ou non sucré, râpé
Dans une casserole, faire revenir les carottes, l’oignon et le céleri dans l’huile à feu moyen. Saler et poivrer un peu. Ajouter les dés d’aubergine et un peu d’huile, au besoin. Saler et poivrer encore. Faire revenir jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient bien ramollis.
Ajouter la pâte de tomate et laisser cuire une minute ou deux. Ajouter l’eau et laisser mijoter à couvert pendant 20 minutes.
Ajouter les câpres, les raisins secs, les pacanes, le vinaigre et le chocolat. Ajuster l’assaisonnement et mijoter à feu doux encore 10 minutes.
Servir avec des nouilles aux œufs.
Ajouter parmigiano reggiano et chocolat râpé, au goût, au moment de servir.
valeur nutritive : 239 calories; 16,6 g de lipides; 5,7 g de fibres; 13,9 g de sucres; 3,2 g de protéines