Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vegan Chopped - Black Celebration Pasta: Black linguine with black-eyed pea balls with blackberry Marinara

Depeche Mode isn't able to join me for dinner, but let's have a Black Celebration anyway.  Multi-tasking is the key to getting this completed in about the time it takes to listen to this classic 80's album.

The lovely and amazing Isa posted a Chopped challenge and I couldn't resist the throw down.

The Challenge:  Make a vegan entree using Blackberries, Fresh Mint, canned Black-Eyed Peas, and Bittersweet Chocolate

I thought this up at work on Friday, and I am shocked and amazed at how delicious and interesting this turned out.  I'll try not to hurt myself patting myself on the back.  I was seriously worried about the chocolate pasta.  I'm delighted with the results.
Black Celebration pasta garnished with challenge ingredients:  Blackberries, black-eyed peas, mint chiffonade, and chocolate shavings.

Black linguine is usually made with squid ink and used to be a big favorite of mine.  I took out the seafood element and whipped up a dark fresh pasta with meaty balls and a fresh homemade sauce.  

Black Linguini
1 Cup all purpose flour
2 oz Bittersweet chocolate (melted)
1/4 cup water (approx) 
1/2 tsp salt

Blackberry Marinara
Olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 small sweet onion
Fresh herbs - Mint, Basil, Oregano
Large Can Tomatoes with juice (28-35oz)*
1 Pint fresh blackberries

Black-Eyed Pea Balls**
1 Cup canned black-eyed Peas rinsed
1 TBS olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
Fresh herbs - Mint, Basil, Oregano, Thyme
1 Heaping TBS dried Italian Herbes (or combo of Italian herbs like basil, oregano, etc)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (panko)

Boil water for pasta (salt when ready)

Trio of components with authentic splatter
Linguini part 1: Mix together flour, melted chocolate***, and water.  Add additional water/flour as needed to form smooth ball.  Knead for a few minutes or throw into bread machine/mixer/food processor for a quick knead.  Wrap in wax paper or plastic and set aside.    

Simmering Blackberry Marinara

Marinara sauce:  Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Chop garlic and onion and add to pot to saute.  Chop herbes and add to pot.  Squish up tomatoes (reserve juice) and add to pot.  Blend blackberries with juice from tomatoes and add to pot.  Let simmer until ready to serve.  I didn't need to add any salt.

Frying Black-eyed Pea balls
Black-Eyed Pea balls:  Heat vegetable oil in cast iron fry pan.  Blend black-eyed peas, olive oil, salt, water, fresh herbs, and dried herbs.  In medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten and breadcrumbs.  Add black-eyed pea mixture and mix together with your hands to form dough.  Knead a little.  Break into just smaller than golfball sized pieces and shape into a ball. Fry until golden brown.   Tip: If you slightly flatten 6 sides to kind of make a square with them, they'll be easier to get brown on all sides.  

Linguini part 2.  Break off a small ball and roll as flat as possible, then slice into ribbons.

This would have worked much better with a pasta maker, but I wanted to make sure this worked if you didn't have one.  Cook in boiling salted water for about a minute or 2.  

The cooked linguini which now actually kind of looks like sea creature tentacles!

The pasta was definitely chocolatey on its own with a slight bitter edge.  Paired with the rest of the ingredients, though, I'm not sure you could tell that it was chocolate if you didn't know.  Kind of like mole sauce.

The marinara sauce also had a definite sweet and sour flavor that I knew was the blackberries, but I don't think you could pick it out if you didn't know.  The seeds were present and if I were a gourmet chef, I probably would have strained them out, but I'm me, so I prefer them rustic.

I love the black-eyed peas in the balls.  If you know your beans you can easily identify them.

The mint is more subtle and blends well with the other fresh herbs.  You get an occasional distinct minty bite from the garnish and it's not weird.

*Not quite tomato season, so canned was the better option.  Hoping for no hurricanes this year so I can can tomatoes this fall.  (Intentional can-can.)

** The Chickpea cutlets from the Veganomicon have been my inspiration for many, many, many meaty bean balls/cutlets, so if those proportions look familar, that's why.  I've adapted it so many times, but usually remember to give the inspiration props.  Lots of experimental combinations, but perfect results every time.

***Melting the chocolate:  I don't have a microwave, so I put a glass bowl over the boiling pasta water to melt.  I know it seems obvious, but just remember the bowl will be hot.
Black Linguini ready to cook

Awesome Chopped Challenge.  Can't wait to see what everyone makes.


Love all the comments on the facebook.

I made the rest of the pasta and shared with my neighbor who I "forced" to judge.

Yay, she loved it!  Definitely digging the bean balls.  Seriously, she wanted to lick the bowl.  What better compliment is there?

She set up a makeshift table with candles and we dined al fresco on the patio.  Other neighbors and lots of people out walking their dogs looked jealous of our sweet set-up.

Declan the cat also looked quite envious.

12 comments: said...

oooh what an interesting recipe! i'm intrigued!! sounds (and looks!) delicious!! thanks for sharing!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

I love this! I think the chocolate pasta is genius! Just inherited a pasta machine from my MIL. I think this may be a reason to bust that baby out! To some Depeche Mode playing in the kitchen, of course! Great idea!

crd said...

I agree... great thinking with 'chocolate pasta' and black-eyed pea balls!

Richa said...

i love the idea of chocolate pasta! yumm!

nobacon said...

The Chopped Vegan challenge was SO much fun and I think your recipe aced it! Reading through the entries, I saw yours and thought... "I am SO out of this." Well done!

Christine said...

Chocolate pasta! Yum. This would totally get my vote on creativity. Bookmarking your recipe.

Christine said...

Chocolate pasta! Yum. This would totally get my vote on creativity. Bookmarking your recipe.

Christine said...

Chocolate pasta! Yum. This would totally get my vote on creativity. Bookmarking your recipe.

Joey said...

I am in awe of anyone that can make their own pasta - but chocolate pasta? That's some clever stuff. Where did the idea come from?

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Katrina Cox said...
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Katrina Cox said...
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