Of Siblings and Spaghetti

Repeatedly recalled for decades, certain family stories become the stuff of lore. So vividly told that they seem like my own memories, I can practically see, taste, and feel these moments that happened long before I was born. The funny thing is, most of these moments are completely inconsequential, with many of the main players unconsciously or selectively choosing to forget the specifics. Regardless of the plausible bias coming from just one source, there’s a particular bit of family lore shared by my dad that I just can’t shake.

The second eldest of four children, he grew up in a boisterous household with plenty of sibling rivalry. Everyone had their quirks and irritations, which each knew exactly how to provoke. Meal time could be particularly fraught, as hunger drained what little patience might remain for the usual shenanigans.

As the story goes, my uncle Jim was throwing a fit about his spaghetti. It was always exactly the same but completely at random, he would inexplicably decide that it didn’t taste as good. Well, as the story goes, my dad finally got fed up with this routine. When Jim abandoned the table for just a moment, my dad swooped in and made his move. Deftly pouring his glass of chocolate milk into the forsaken noodles, my aunts could barely manage to stifle their giggles. Much to everyone’s surprise, upon his return, Jim proclaimed the pasta… Suddenly, miraculously improved!

The secret remained a mystery for all of about two seconds before the jig was up, launching an equal and opposite reaction of chocolate milk being poured into my dad’s white rice. Such an ultimately trivial moment that could have easily become forgotten somehow became wrapped up in our larger family lore, a fundamental piece of my personal history, despite taking place many decades before I was born.

History is destined to repeat itself, manifesting in unexpected ways, and so here I am today, recreating my Uncle Jim’s chocolate milk spaghetti.

Yes, you read that right; looking beyond the dessert course, blending cocoa into cream sauce isn’t the craziest idea. My dad was onto something in this moment of reckless provocation, little did he know at the time. Deep, dark Dutch process cocoa has both sweet and savory notes, waiting for the right sidekick to coax either side out into the light. Though we typically focus on more sugary pairings, the subtly bitter edge inherent in raw cacao comes to the fore alongside garlic, nutritional yeast, and black truffles. Twirling stands of al dente noodles within that mysterious, tawny sauce, crunchy bites of toasted cacao nibs deliver a shock of texture, hammering in the duality and versatility of this single ingredient, found in many forms.

Who knew that such an innocuous event would stay with us for generations, and perhaps, many more to come? Truffles certainly weren’t on the menu on that fateful night, but there’s no reason why we can’t learn from our “mistakes” and improve upon them- If only we can be so fearless by taking that first step to pour chocolate milk into pasta.

Yield: Makes 6 Servings

Chocolate Milk Spaghetti

Chocolate Milk Spaghetti

The subtly bitter edge of cacao comes to the fore alongside garlic, nutritional yeast, and black truffles in this unconventional pasta sauce. Twirling stands of al dente noodles within that mysterious, tawny sauce, crunchy bites of toasted cacao nibs deliver a shock of texture, hammering in the duality and versatility of this single ingredient, found in many forms.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Plain, Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Spaghetti, Cooked Al Dente
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cacao Nibs, Toasted
  • Black Truffle Shavings, to Taste (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 2 - 4 minutes, until aromatic and lightly browned.
  2. Add the flour, nutritional yeast, and cocoa powder, whisking vigorously to incorporate into a smooth paste. Cook for an additional minute while stirring constantly.
  3. Slowly pour in the milk and stock, stirring constantly. Once blended in with no lumps remaining, cook until the mixture comes to the brink of a boil. It should thicken considerably.
  4. Add desired salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and add the cooked spaghetti along with the cacao nibs, tossing to coat.
  5. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with shaved black truffle, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 536mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

3 thoughts on “Of Siblings and Spaghetti

  1. What a lovely story , and I love the way you write:)
    Interesting spaghetti, I have seen sweet chocolate spaghetti,but not savory spaghetti with chocolate. But cocoa gives nice flavor to savory things too.

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