Since I spend a lot of time perusing cookbooks, I’m used to seeing adventurous takes on standard meals, but this nontraditional twist on your typical pasta + sauce supper from Nigella Lawson’s new book Nigellissima, is so out of the ordinary I just had to try it myself. The result? Secondservings-issima!
Chocolate Pasta with Pecans and Caramel (serves 2)
•4 ounces cocoa or chocolate pasta, such as cocoa fusilli
•pinch or two of salt
•1⁄2 cup unsalted pecan nuts, roughly broken up
•3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
•1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
•7 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more (optional), to serve
Put water on to boil for the pasta and, when it’s boiling, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta, setting a timer for 2 minutes before the package instructions say it will be ready. Put a medium-sized, non-stick frying pan on the stove and tumble in the pecans, then toast them over a medium heat. Once you can smell their scent wafting up from the pan, remove them to a cold plate.
Now stir the butter and sugar together in the frying pan over a low heat, until you have a hot, thick syrup. Carefully, pour in the cream, stir, and let the caramel mixture bubble up, add the toasted pecans and a pinch of salt, then turn off the heat.
Just before draining the pasta, dip in a cup to remove a little pasta-cooking water, then toss the drained pasta into the frying pan with the dark and nutty caramel sauce, adding a tablespoon or two of the cooking water, if needed, to help coat the pasta. Stir to combine before dividing between 2 bowls. Serve with a little extra cream in a small pitcher to pour as you eat, if you wish.
Follow Nigella on Twitter @Nigella_Lawson.