Saturday 15 June 2013

MLLA Lentil ragu with chocolate chilli fettuccine

Finding a packet of chocolate chilli fettuccine at Coburg Farmers Market is thrilling (as Fancy Nancy would say).  I mentioned to the woman that I would use it in a savoury dish.  She looked at me askance but was too busy to discuss it.  Yet what to serve with the chocolate fettuccine remained a mystery to me.  Until I saw Steph's  Slow cooked ragu with fettuccine.

Upon opening the bag of fettuccine I was hit with a waft of chocolate.  Oh joy.  The cooked pasta was indeed, as promised by the nice lady who sold it to me, not terribly spicy but there was a slight kick after eating it.  A bit too spicy for Sylvia but she gallantly ate a small bowlful with parmesan.

The ragu is a wintery stew that is perfect to serve with robust pasta.  Our weather has been grey and wet recently.  You know it is a lot of rain when it makes the headlines and the weathermen start talking about record rainfall.  Just the sort of weather to nurse a cold and have a stew simmering on the stove.  And if, like me, you need to do the kinder pick up, then a stew can easily be turned off to sit and wait til you return.

This is the sort of dish where you can clear out the wrinkled old vegies from the fridge.  Once they are softened and swollen with the slow cooking in wine and stock, they will be as good as they ever would have been at their peak.  The colours will disappear into the murky depth of the stew.  In the most pleasing way.

I loved how the chocolate chilli fettuccine added to the darkness.  But any fettuccine would work.  Or even a loaf of good bread or some brown rice, if that  is your preference.  After all this stew is all about comfort.

I am sending this taco filling to Nupur at One Hot Stove for My Legume Love Affair (#60), the monthly event celebrating beans and lentils and legumes, overseen by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen and founded by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Post Office Hotel - Middle Eastern fine dining
Two years ago: CC Spicy Chai Tea
Three years ago: SOS Beetroot and rhubarb soup
Four years ago: What does home mean to you?
Five years ago: Split Pea Soup goes Asian

Lentil ragu with chocolate chilli fettuccine
Inspired by Vegan about Town
Serves 6

375g puy lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions
3 celery stalks
3 carrots (mine were orange, white and purple)
1 fennel
1 parsnip
1 turnip
4 medium button mushrooms
150g green beans
3 garlic cloves
700ml passata (tomato puree)
700ml water
1 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp stock powder
bouquet garnet of bay leaves, thyme and rosemary tied with string
dash of smoked paprika and cinnamon
ground black pepper
*chocolate chilli fettuccine (or regular fettuccine or rice or good bread) to serve
finely grated parmesan, to serve (optional)

Cover the lentils with boiling water while you chop the vegies.  Mine kept absorbing all the water so I would just top it up a bit over this tine (20 to 30 minutes).

Dice the vegies in the order they appear in the list.  Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and add vegies as you chop them.  (I peeled most of mine and trimmed the ends of the green beans.)

Add the passata, water, red wine, salt, stock powder, herbs and spices.  Taste the liquid to check it will be well enough seasoned.  Bring to the boil and gently simmer mostly covered (lid askew) for most of an hour.  About half way through I decided all that liquid would never go so I cooked it on high for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until a lot of the water was absorbed.  Then I reduced heat again and let it gently simmer again.  If you have more time you could slowly cook it til you have the desired consistency.

When ragu is about ready cook the fettuccine according to packet instructions (or in my case where there were no instructions, gut instinct).  Serve ragu on top of fettuccine with lots of black pepper and parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Note: The pasta I used was made by M M Designer.

On the Stereo:
In the Night Garden (BBC TV soundtrack)


  1. Oh, that looks great! I might try that if I buy the chocolate pasta again.

    1. Thanks Catherine - I will definitely look out for the pasta next time I am at the market - it was really lovely and the cooked leftovers kept well in the fridge overnight

  2. interesting chocolate with lentils.....I just made spiced lentils and homemade bread for tea nothing like it on a dark winters day.


    1. Thanks Helen - spiced lentils and home made bread sounds an excellent dinner - I am really into my lentils just now

  3. Oh, so exciting! I long to find a commercial chocolate pasta after my efforts at making it from scratch last year - and chilli would be a huge bonus. I love the combination of flavours and as I'm having a puy lentil dish tonight myself, I rather wish I could pair it with chocolate chilli fettuccine instead of plain old quinoa!

    1. Thanks Kari - I was excited to find a place to buy chocolate pasta and they have some other flavours too but I really need to try making my own some times soon - hope you enjoy your lentils

  4. What a perfectly hearty and delicious stew, Johanna. And the chocolate pasta is the metaphorical cherry on top! I've seen chocolate pasta, even bought it for a friend but have never tasted it myself. Thanks for participating in MLLA!

    1. Thanks Nupur - I hope you have a chance to taste chocolate pasta one day if only for the novelty - though truth be told I could taste the chilli more than the chocolate - it has a depth of flavour rather than tasting strongly of chocolate.

  5. I think this looks fab - I'd love some now, even if it is just after breakfast.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - yep I think it could work for morning tea - that's what chocolate is for isn't it :-)

  6. That looks incredible! Thanks for doing it for the veggies :) I made a big lentil dish yesterday. I just cook mine with onion, garlic and butter and then add stock. Sweet potato in at the last 20 minutes. So Nom!

    1. Thanks Cass - it was quite special because I love the idea of chocolate pasta and I think I got it right - I usually throw lots of vegies into any dish I can - lentils and sweet potato sounds great (esp if they were red lentils)


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