Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chocolat et Courgettes

Yesterday I handed Cranky my copy of Clotilde Dusoulier's cookbook (birthday present; thanks, Cranky), and said, "Pick a recipe."
He put three and three together: The book is called "Chocolate and Zucchini." We have cocoa nibs in the pantry. We are growing zucchini in the backyard.
Big, fat bingo!
Cranky selected Clotilde's recipe for pasta cooked by the absorption method (similar to how risotto is done), mingled with thin slices of zucchini and dusted with crushed cocoa nibs. Sounds crazy, I know.
As soon as he got out of bed, he set a pot of vegetable stock to simmer. It was luscious with corn cobs (we'd already eaten the kernels), pea pods (ditto the peas: eaten), and garlic scapes. Oh, and carrot tops, an onion, some lentils and dried mushrooms for depth, herbs, salt... The best vegetable stock I've ever tasted, and I've been making my own for years. Damn, Cranky. It was utterly stellar for absorption pasta.
He couldn't wait to make this meal. Twitch, twitch. (How did I turn him into a vegetarian?)
We had it for lunch today. I thought the recipe was quirky and quaint, but since I'm already in love with Clotilde, I believe she can do no wrong.
It was delightful. The cocoa nibs add a faint chocolate-y flavor, but the main effect is a crisp crunch, like having walnuts on pasta (which we do often). The zucchini was, of course, a natural. The absorption method is brilliant.
Yep. Delightful.


Heather said...

Uhhh, did my comment get deleted? I mentioned something about corn cob broth, and making it for sopa de pollo. :\

jana said...

Yes, I love that recipe too! My favorite, though, is the almond blancmange with basil coulis (made with fresh basil from my garden). Yum!

Michelle said...

Anything with chocolate and I'm sold. I had no idea that you could do pasta using an absorption method. You're just a culinary fairy godmother to me these days!!

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

IO had to read this post twice just to make sure I read everything correctly. I like thinking/doing outside of the box, but I don't know...

Well, maybe risotto-esque pasta absorption. I like that idea.

kudzu said...


Chilebrown said...

I get out of bed and make stock too . That is what I do!! I think Cranky is the Stock King!
P.S. I said 'Stellar' first.

dancingmorganmouse said...

So, you read recipe books in bed eh? (me too).
I'm certainly going to give this one a go - never though of the absorb method for pasta though, mmmm.

Sam said...

i have that book. I a have some cocoa nibs and I have some courgettes. Yet, something is stopping me?

cookiecrumb said...

Heather: No, I didn't delete you. Sorry it vanished, and how nifty that we are once again thinking up the same foods. Sorta.

Jana: Thanks for the vote of confidence on another recipe. The photo for that one drives me crazy! Good crazy.

Michelle: The method works best for small pasta shapes. (You should probably get the book, because, of course, chocolate.)

Nikki: I probably wouldn't have made it myself, but Cranky wanted to (lucky me).

Kudzu: Cocotastic!

ChileBrown: My vocabulary is improving from reading your blog.
Yup, morning is a good time for stock, before the house gets too hot.

Ms. Mouse: I'm afraid I read them more than I ever cook from them.
I think you could fake the absorption pasta without a recipe, though, if you've ever made risotto.

Sam: I know. See my message to Nikki...
You need a Cranky.

S for Kitchen Confit said...

I've been meaning to buy this book –and this recipe sounds so intriguing.

The Spiteful Chef said...

Okay, so I'm a jackass for saying this, but I HATE zucchini. People plant it wanting, like, A zucchini and then it spreads and takes over their whole yard. It's like when people want a baby but instead end up with triplets. "Aw, hell! I only wanted the ONE." But I applaud you in finding a way to successfully mix chocolate and vegetables. I've heard it's difficult to do outside of either Kitchen Stadium or a "breakfast bread."

dancingmorganmouse said...

Any excuse to buy a new cook book!
And risotto is (one of my many) middle names ;)

cookiecrumb said...

S for KC: Here's your excuse. I'm going to enjoy plowing through this one. Her cooking is just so homey, but new-fangled.

Spiteful Chef: Aw. Don't blame the monster plant. It's a real jerk, yes. But the zukes are nice. I even buy them once in a while.
(Breakfast Bread. Har!! No thanks.)

Ms. Mouse: I *wanted* you to buy the book; I was just being coy.

cook eat FRET said...

that dish sounds absolutely brilliant. i LOVE every element from the broth to the nibs.

i'd have ordered that in a restaurant... now i might need to make it.

Anna Haight said...

What a wonderful combination of unique technique and combinations! Hmm. where does one buy chocolate nibs?

cookiecrumb said...

ceF: This is a book for you. She creates really natural, undifficult foods with a sly sophistication.

Anna: I think we got the nibs (Sharffenberger) at Mollie Stone's. Whole Foods probably has them too.

Nerissa said...

I'll have to take your word for the goodness of the recipe. I have the book but I don't think I'd get my froggie's leave to make such a dish (he's such a traditionalist Frenchman). Somehow, someday I'll try it. ;-)

KathyF said...

The pasta absorption idea sounds intriguing. I could see it working with orzo, or something small (I used to keep a box of alphabets around, for the kids) but larger pasta? Hmmm. Gotta think on that one.

cookiecrumb said...

Nerissa: Aw... Maybe that's Sam's problem too. It's a fun meal, but you'll survive if you can't try it. (Or: Tell the Froggie it's just "interesting" nuts.)

KathyF: I used orrechiete. I wouldn't use anything bigger, and might prefer orzo next time.
Alphabet pasta!! I love it.