Cooking School: Cacao Pasta with a Salsa of Scampis, Cacao Beans and Fresh Peas

Ever tried chocolate brown pasta that doesn’t only look like chocolate but actually contains 250 g of (bitter) cacao? Pietro Sgaramella, 28, pasta & primi expert at Masseria Torre Maizza/Puglia and therefore part of Vito Giannuzzis team of chefs, shows how to prepare this special kind of noodles and combines his “bitter-sweet” invention with a brilliant salsa out of scampis, cacao beans and fresh peas.

Sgaramella, originally from Andria/Puglia, learned from the most important chefs all over Italy, such as Don Alfonso, Massimiliano Alagmeo and Pietro Leeman. More important than all the Michelin stars in the world is the satisfaction of the client though, he says. “Watching a couple getting up from their dinner table with a big smile on their faces is the best reward a chef can possibly imagine.”

Here’s how he prepares the “Spaghetto alla Chitarra al cacaowith young peas and scampis:

For the Pasta
600 g flour “00″
350 g bitter cacao
10-15 g salt
450 eggyolks
1 egg
olive oil

Mix all the ingredients and let the dogh settle for about an hour. prepare the pasta with a pasta machine or with an pasta guitar. Form little pasta nests of about 90 g (1 portion) each.

For the reduction of scampis
Carcasse of scampis
150 g cacao beans
1 piece of celery
1 carrot
1 shallot
3 auburn tomatoes
olive oil

For the base/decoration
150 g young peas
Confit tomatoes
dill to taste

For the reduction mix celery, shallot and carrot pieces, add the carcass of the crustaceans and the cacao beans and let them simmer on low heat for a while.
Add water and ice cubes, while you pour the ingredients into a casserole where you let everything boil up and then simmer for about 2 hours. Filter through a sieve and keep going for another 3 or 4 hours until you obtain a real reduction fond. Parboil the fresh peas, cut the fresh, well cleaned scampi tails (without bowels) into pieces. Boil up oil and garlic, calm it down with your reduction fond of crustaceans and add a couple of confit tomatoes. Add the peas and he scampi pieces (which shouldn’t simmer for too long, otherwise they’ll dry out).
Decorate the pasta, cooked al dente, like one big forkful on a plate. Arrange all the other ingredients of your salsa easily around he Spaghetti. Serve with a few drops of olive oil and dill to taste on top.