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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

A Full Course Chocolate Meal | 5 Italian Chocolate Recipes

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Who doesn't love chocolate? We sure do, which is why we decided to make a full course meal with all chocolate dishes! Give some of these a try if you're interested in using cocoa in a whole new way!

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we made these recipes here:

Antipasto: Chocolate Pizza with Squash

Chocolate Pizza with Squash Purée

Serves 4

For this recipe, you will need:

- 1 3/4 cup (220g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

- 2 tbsp (15g) unsweetened cocoa powder

- 1/2 packet (3.5g) active dry yeast

- 2/3 cup water (150ml)

- 1/2 white onion, sliced

- 1/4 butternut squash, cubed

- 3 tbsp olive oil

- Crushed red pepper flakes

- Cinnamon

- Salt

- Fresh black pepper

- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and yeast. Gradually add the water while mixing with a wooden spoon. When the water is fully incorporated, add 1/2 tbsp salt and mix in thoroughly. On a floured work surface, knead the dough until very smooth (about 5 minutes). The dough should have a very high hydration level but dust with a little extra flour as needed if it's too sticky to work by hand. Dust a mixing bowl with flour, place the dough inside, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the fridge overnight.

Remove the dough from the fridge 3 hours before you plan to cook it. Allow it to come up to room temperature for 40 minutes. Knead it for a few minutes again, then place it back in the bowl and cover. Let it rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Meanwhile, bring 2 tbsp olive oil up to medium temperature in a saucepan. Add the sliced onion and sautée for a few minutes, until softened and slightly transparent. Add the squash and sautée for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add enough water to will the pot about an inch below the top of the squash. Bring to a simmer, add a generous pinch of salt and some fresh pepper, then cook covered until the squash is soft enough to be mashed with a fork. Purée with an immersion blender and salt to taste.

When the pizza dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 450 degrees F and oil a baking pan (we used a 12x9-inch pan). Spread the dough out so that it evenly fills the tray. If you have trouble getting the corners to stay put without springing back, let the dough rest for a 10-15 minutes and try again. Spread a thin layer of the squash purée over the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch crust around the border. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and cinnamon.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to check that the bottom isn't burnt or stuck to the pan. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the crust is crispy.

Top with a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese. Buon appetito!

Primo: Chocolate Tagliatelle with Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata

Chocolate Tagliatelle

Serves 2

For this recipe, you will need:

- 1 1/4 cup (150g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

- 2 1/2 tbsp (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder

- 2 eggs

- 3 tbsp olive oil

- 1 clove garlic, crushed with the skin on

- 1 pint (350g) grape tomatoes, halved

- Salt

- Fresh black pepper

- 2 burrate

- 3 tbsp crushed pistacchio nuts

On a large work surface, combine the flour and cocoa powder. Form the pile into a volcano shape, with a depression in the middle. Crack both eggs into the hole and begin whisking with a fork, gradually mixing in the flour. Once a thick paste has developed, use your hands to mix in the rest of the flour. Knead the dough until it is very smooth and even, then wrap in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out until it is very thin (about 1/16-inch), dusting with flour often. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll it up in 1-inch rolls; it should look like a flattened carpet roll. Slice into 1/2-inch strips, unravel, then arrange the pasta on a well-floured baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then salt it generously (two handfuls of salt is a good starting place). Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet with the crushed garlic for 2 minutes over medium heat. Remove the garlic and add the tomatoes. Sautée, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, then add a small ladle-full of the pasta water and cover. Allow to simmer until the tomatoes are very soft but not completely dissolved. At this point, turn off the heat.

While the tomatoes cook, add the fresh pasta and boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove from the water with a pair of tongs and add into the tomato pan. Stir all together over high heat for about a minute. Serve immediately and top each plate with a burrata and a sprinkle of crushed pistacchio nuts. Buon appetito!

Secondo: Sicilian Chocolate Rabbit

Sicilian Chocolate Rabbit

Serves 2

For the marinade, you will need:

- 1 whole rabbit, quartered

- 1 white onion, quartered

- 3 cloves garlic

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 2-3 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

- 3 bay leaves

- 1 dried chili pepper

- 1/2 cup red vinegar

- Whole black pepper

- Red wine to cover

- Salt

For the rest, you will need:

- 6 tbsp olive oil

- 1 white onion, diced

- all-purpose flour for battering (about 1 cup)

- 1/2 cup marsala or white wine

- 1/2 large carrot, diced

- 1/4 cup almonds

- 1 chili pepper

- 2/3 bar (75g) 70% cacao dark chocolate

Lightly salt the quartered rabbit and place into a container with all of the marinade ingredients, plus red wine to cover. Marinate overnight. Remove the rabbit and dry with a paper towel, but strain and save the marinade juice for later. On a small plate, batter each piece of rabbit in flour.

Bring 3 tbsp olive oil up to medium/hight temperature in a large sautée pan. Add the diced onion and sautée until softened and slightly transparent. Add the rabbit and fry on both sides until browned. Drizzle more olive oil over the rabbit as needed if it seems a little dry.

Add the marsala wine, diced carrot, whole almonds and chili pepper. After a minute or two, when the smell of alcohol has evaporated, pour in enough of the marinade to fill the pan about 1/2-inch. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Salt to taste and cook, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes or until the rabbit meat is very tender. Add marinade as needed to maintain moisture.

Grate the chocolate over the rabbit and cook, stirring frequently, for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately. Buon appetito!

Contorno: Radicchio and Orange Salad with Chocolate Dressing

Chocolate Salad Dressing

Serves 2

For this recipe, you will need:

- 2 heads radicchio, sliced

- 2 oranges

- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

- 4 tsp honey

- 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Use a vegetable peeler to closely shave the zest from the oranges. Slice thinly and mix with the peeled/cubed orange fruit, sliced radicchio and walnuts.

Stir the honey, cocoa powder and balsamic vinegar into s dressing. Toss into the salad and drizzle some extra on top. Buon appetito!

Dolce: Caprese Cake with Mascarpone Cream (Torta Caprese)

Torta Caprese

Serves 2

For the cake, you will need:

- 7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus a little extra for buttering the pan(s)

- 2/3 cup (135g) sugar

- 2 eggs

- 1 bar (100g) 70% cacao dark chocolate

- 1 1/2 cup (150g) almond flour

- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour for flouring the pan(s)

- Powdered sugar for topping

For the mascarpone cream, you will need:

- 2 eggs

- 1/4 cup (40g) sugar

- 4 oz. (113g) mascarpone cheese

- 1 tsp. dark rum

- Unsweetened cocoa powder for topping

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix with a slow speed setting. While the butter and sugar are mixing, break the chocolate into small chunks and melt in a bain-marie. Set it aside to cool.

When the butter and sugar are thoroughly mixed, slightly white and creamy, add one of the eggs and continue to mix until it is fully incorporated. Add the second egg and repeat. When both eggs are mixed in, add the chocolate. Mix thoroughly before mixing in the almond flour.

Preheat an oven to 350 degreed F (175 C).

After the almond flour has been incorporated, butter two small (4" diameter) springform molds and dust the inside with flour. You can also easily adapt this recipe to use one slightly larger cake dish. Use a spatula to scoop the batter into the molds. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry and clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

To make the mascarpone cream, separate the egg yolks from whites and save both. In a stand mixer, combine the egg yolks with the sugar and whip until white and creamy. Add the mascarpone and rum; mix thoroughly. Set aside for later.

Whip the egg whites until light and fluffy. Please note that if you are using the same mixer and attachment that you used with the yolks, be sure to thoroughly clean the equipment before whipping the whites.

Gradually mix the egg whites into the yolks/mascarpone mix. Do this very gently by "folding" the mixture with a spatula. We recommend watching the video above to see the technique. Serve in a small dipping dish topped with some dusted cocoa powder. Buon appetito!

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