CHOCOLATE PASTA WITH SPICY SAUSAGE RAGU
- For Cocoa Pici Dough
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups tepid water
FOR THE SAUSAGE RAGU
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more)
- 1 pound hot italian sausage
- 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound broccoli (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon fennel pollen (or ground fennel seed)
- 2 teaspoons thyme (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (chopped)
- 14 .5 ounces whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (pureed)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Add the flours and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour. Slowly begin to add the water in the center of the well. Use your hand or a fork to incorporate the dry ingredients with the water, starting with the center and pulling the flours in towards the water. Continue adding water and incorporating the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured board. Begin kneading the dough. Continue kneading for 10 minutes, until a smooth, firm dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.(Alternatively, place the dry ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the warm water, a little at a time, mixing until all of the water has been thoroughly incorporated. Continue mixing for 10 minutes, until a firm but smooth dough develops. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.)
- To make the pici, pinch off a piece of the pasta dough about the size of a martini olive, and roll it between your hands to create a dowel about the thickness of thick spaghetti and about 3-inches long. Repeat, using up all the dough. Spread the pici in a single layer on semolina-dusted baking sheets, and dust them with more semolina. (Have your friends help you make these- it will take some time.)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage and cook until well browned. Add the onion and broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Sautee until translucent, about 4 minutes. Then, add the garlic, herbs and spices. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Next, drop the pici into the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the pici to the sauté pan with the spicy sausage ragu. Cook over medium heat for another minute or two.
- To serve, drizzle the pasta with extra-virgin olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.Tips
– Form the pasta ahead of time and place on sheet trays to freeze. Then place in zip-tip bag in the freezer to store until ready to cook.