Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chocolate Spaghetti with Strawberry Sauce

It's that time! Yes, Tina's Crazy Cooking Challenge* has come around again. This month's challenge was spaghetti with red sauce.

*I'm editing this post to make known the fact that Tina decided that my dish didn't fulfill the challenge requirements (the challenge was to make spaghetti with red sauce: is this not what I made?) because it wasn't what she expected. Thus, she has excluded it from the blog linky party (the list of pictures and blogs below), and I have removed the Crazy Cooking Challenge Button from this post. I'll leave the linky party on this post because I think there are some fantastic looking dishes there, but will not be participating in Tina's challenges anymore. Instead, I'll go find a new blog challenge that is not as restrictive as Tina's and lets me be creative!

I confess, when I first saw this month's theme I was a bit disappointed. I have no doubt that all of my fellow bloggers will come up with some AMAZING dishes, because they always do, but I just couldn't get excited about it. Until it occurred to me that it doesn't have to be a savoury dish! I went digging, and came up with chocolate spaghetti. I then decided to pair it with a strawberry sauce (still red!)

I found the recipe for the spaghetti on Cocoamoi, and for the strawberry sauce on Sage Recipes, although I've made a similar strawberry sauce many times before!

Chocolate Pasta

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder*
2 Tbsp granulated sugar**
2 eggs
1tsp Vanilla extract (essence will be fine)
pinch of salt
  1. In a large bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together. Make a well in the center of the flour and cocoa mix and break the eggs. With a fork combine the eggs to the flour bringing in the sides of the well a little at a time, add Tbsp oil and 1 tsp vanilla. Keep combining the ingredients until it forms a soft ball of dough.
  2.  When you have your dough, knead for 5-10 minutes on a floured surface until the dough is elastic and even in color. Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour before rolling.
  3. Roll the dough through your pasta machine if you have one or simply roll out with a rolling pin and using a pizza cutter cut out strips of pasta.
  4. When you are ready cook the chocolate pasta for about 6 mins*** in unsalted boiling water, drain and serve.
*I used about 50 grams of melted 85% dark chocolate instead, as Cocoamoi suggested.
**I used confectioner's sugar instead, thinking it might make my dough a bit smoother.
***Mine only needed about a minute of cooking time.

I think I must not have gotten the mixture right here, as my pasta was not nearly as elasticky as it should be. When I tried to pass it through the pasta maker, it broke and crumbled a lot, and on the thinnest setting it just shredded. However, I did manage to get enough through it to get some decent noodles, even if they aren't very long!

Strawberry season in Hanoi is from November sometime to February-ish. I tend to do all of my fruit and vegetable shopping in the market outside my door, and I haven't seen anyone selling strawberries there (or anywhere) for a few weeks now. I wasn't sure how I was going to do this, until I saw a can of strawberries in one of the imported food shops. Obviously I would always prefer fresh strawberries, so I was pretty disappointed that this was the way I'd have to go, but I was running out of options!

Then, on the very day I was planning to make this, I was riding my bicycle out of the parking lot of my last grocery stop, on my way home to make my chocolate spaghetti, when there, just on the side of the road, was a lady with a basket full of fresh strawberries on the back of her bicycle. Imagine my surprise! It was meant to be! Not only that, but she was selling them off cheaper than I'd ever seen! I bought a kilo and brought them home. Plenty will be going in my freezer!

A Vietnamese mobile fruit seller.

Strawberry White Wine Sauce

I made a much smaller amount of this sauce than the recipe on Sage Recipes, so here's what I did:

3 tbsp white wine
about 20 small strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lime juice (to taste)
a tiny splash of corn starch dissolved in water

1. Put the white wine, strawberries, and sugar in a pot and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are getting soft.
2. Taste, and if it's too sweet, add lime juice.
3. Add corn starch (in water) a little bit at a time until it thickens.

I've made strawberry sauce dozens of times before, but always with water instead of wine. I didn't notice the difference, so save the wine for drinking!

I topped the dish with slivered almonds for a bit of crunch, and grated white chocolate on top. (Does it look like cheese?)

Honestly, I didn't like this. I didn't even finish eating it. It looks pretty and the spaghetti smelled like chocolate but it didn't TASTE chocolatey at all, and the texture was like...well, like spaghetti. It just wasn't right, and was pretty disappointing after my excitement at making it. But, now I know, and if I hadn't made it, I would always wonder! The strawberry sauce, however, was delicious and I saved what remained to have on pancakes!

If anyone is inspired by this and tries it, or something similar, please let me know how it turns out!



  1. awww. sucks that you didn't like it...guess some things weren't meant to be sweet, anyway, it DOES look good. :)

  2. What a beautiful plating! Maybe the 'dough' needed more kneading, or it could have been the substitutes. You were actually creating a brownie dough and that's a little harder to control. Maybe, overnight in the refrigerator? I can't imagine liking this because I really don't like the new cooking trend of making desserts look like entrees. Don't know why. Just don't and will probably come round in another six years. (I'm slow.) But, this is a lovely picture. I do, however, agree with Tina on this one. It's not a spaghetti and red sauce entree; it's a dessert, no matter how it's named. I had to redo my dish because I didn't use spaghetti, the first time. But, please, don't leave the Challenge. You have much to contribute and we'd love to see those entries. I'm #28. Come visit when you can.

  3. Looks good. I am sure my son would love it as he is a chocolate lover. I am sorry it did not get included in the challenge.
    Stopping by from ccc #65. Do visit. Following you - hope you will follow me back.

  4. Jenny, please send me an e-mail I'd love to discuss with you more about your entry into this month's challenge. Tina was correct in excluding it. I was excluded from the Fudge challenge because I made a Fudgy Brownie. And not a fudge candy. Tina does try to be specific in her guidelines, and if you think your entry might be questionable, you can always send her an e-mail and she will clarify if your entry will work. Don't give up on the challenge, it's an awesome one, you can opt out a month and not be dropped from the group if the subject just isn't to your liking. You'll meet great bloggers and make new friends. And you WILL increase traffic to your blog. My Chocolate cake entry from last month has had over 2000 hits and is still getting hits thanks to Pinterest.
    Looking forward to seeing more from you and also seeing you in next month's challenge.

  5. Jenny, I love that you thought outside the box, you were so creative in your take on the challenge but I can see why Tina did not include it as she is very specific in her guidelines but I hope that you stay with the challenge in the future. Sorry too that after all your hard work in putting together this creative dish that you didn't care for it in the end.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my CCC entry: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  6. Sorry you were excluded from the challenge, but I do have to agree with Tina's reasoning. I love that you were so creative in your ideas for the challenge, I sure never would have thought of chocolate spaghetti, I wish it had turned out for you. Thank you for still taking the time to drop by and check my entry out.

  7. I think it's genius, especially since there's only so much you can do with spaghetti and red sauce. I wish that this month's challenge had been a little more open. Would've like to see a little more variety.

  8. It’s a very creative dish! Please don’t give up on the challenge though. We’d be sad to see you go.


Thanks for visiting! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!