I have recently bought, on a whim, a package of Cocoa Pasta ("barilotti al cacao"). Is it sweet? What sauce goes with it well?
closed as off topic by hobodave May 6 '11 at 15:31
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I have bough pasta that contained cocoa, here in Italy, and it was not that sweet.
On the one hand we might be bumping up against a language barrier, as there are times where Cacao and Cocoa can be use interchangeably (99% of the time), and there are time where they cannot. I am curious if you could provide more details on the pasta, by way of detailed ingredients or maybe a description (if extant) of how the pasta is made. Some use cacao interchangeably, since cocoa is from cacao; but as cacao has other uses and forms that would be like saying I am eating a Bhut Jolokia Belladonna.
Cacao, in raw, pod form is not going to present the same characteristics of cocoa powder (i.e. try a smoothie with cacao and one with cocoa, they're quite different). Yes it is still bitter and earthy, but there is a brightness and the eathiness is more "green" (sort of like grassy, less of the "roasted" flavor). That said, this gap may be bridged depending on processing. Getting the cacao into a pasta form, I am inclined to assume that the cacao will need to be ground to varying degree. As a paste it would still bear the marks of cacao. Per a thread on cheftalk, I am inclined to guess that if it is ground further and past a powder, possibly powdered with butter etc, it would be more akin to cocoa (bitter and unsweetened presumably, though this would change with process).
As a tangent: Some people ascribe health and nutrient benefits to so-called "raw" cacao, if this is up your alley you would likely want to avoid high heat cooking/preparation. That said, after preserving and sitting, it's likely that the benefits are moot.