Sweet and savory pairings are one of my obsessions. Italy, well, Italian food, is my new obsession, and chocolate is my oldest and longest obsession. A trip to Italy opened my palate to a world of mouthwatering ingredients and flavors and, consequently, pestos. It is thanks to my Italian language teacher that this Sicilian pesto made its way onto my plate. And, though I am not sure she would approve, my incessant passion for dark chocolate has led to this happy marriage of obsessions.
Dark Chocolate-Infused Pesto Siciliano
Yield: 2 servings
1/3 heaping cup sun-dried tomatoes
¼ small cup almonds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon capers
¼ cup pecorino sardo/ricotta salata/asiago stagionato (aged) – basically you want a tangy but salty cheese
¼ cup parmigiano reggiano
4 or 5 large basil leaves
16 grams dark chocolate (70% or above)
2 teaspoons water
Salt pepper to taste
- Place almonds in a blender and pulse a few times to break them down.
- Add sundried tomatoes, olive oil, capers, both cheeses, and basil. Blend until still a little bity (NOT puréed)
- Place chocolate, broken into bits, with a tsp of water, into a microwave proof bowl, and melt in the microwave until melted and sauce-like, adding just enough water to make it a little runny, while maintaining the richness of the chocolate.
- Pour melted chocolate into the blender with the other ingredients, and pulse until all incorporated.
- Add to roughly 1 cup of cooked and drained, whole-wheat pasta. Drizzle a little olive oil to help with mixing and incorporating.
- Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprig of fresh basil, (and possibly an extra dusting of parmigiano reggiano…who doesn’t love a little more cheese, especially the best kind).