I found another way to put chocolate into your dinner!! Sorry for shouting that.
The longer I live outside of Texas, the more I realize that the foods I grew up on are vastly different than the childhood experiences of my friends. If I want to make a silence fall over a room, I talk about how we eat tamales on Christmas Eve in Texas. I’m not entirely sure if people are pausing to try to remember what a tamale is, or if they’re reminiscing on their family’s traditions. Another thing I have a penchant for that is mostly misunderstood is mole. Yes, it has chocolate in it. No, it’s not sweet. It’s a smoky, nutty sauce that tastes of peppers and roasted onions. It’s like salsa, but thicker and more substantial. And smokier. And tastier.
My mole recipe is most definitely different than your grandmother’s. And for that, I’m sorry. This is the way I make it because it’s fast, cures my craving, and is made with ingredients I already have on hand, include chile powder. I’m not the type of Texan that keeps whole dried chiles in her cabinet (another thing for which I am sorry).
My mole is made up of onion, garlic, tomato, corn tortilla, ancho chile powder (an ancho chile is a dried poblano pepper), blanched almonds, red chili flakes, cocoa powder. I toast these ingredients in a skillet first. The other ingredients in my mole that are not pictured: raisins, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and chicken broth for blending.
I was hesitant about scaling my mole recipe down too much, because once you taste this sauce, you’re going to wish you made a double batch. So, this recipe makes 1 cup of mole; you need 1/2 cup for the pasta dish. Mole freezes beautifully. I defrost it, and serve it over grilled chicken in the summer with a lime wedge on the side. It’s also great brushed over steak kabobs before grilling and served with rice. Oh, the mole possibilities are endless!
So, let’s talk pasta. I chose the Collezione shape by Barilla for this mole sauce because the pasta acts like little scoops to hold bites of chicken, roasted corn, and creamy mole sauce. It’s a match made in heaven. I found this new shape by Barilla at my local Safeway. Make sure to check out what is new at your local Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, CARRS, Tom Thumb or Randalls store.
For the mole:
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 corn tortilla, sliced
- 1/3 cup blanched, sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 plum tomato, halved
- 1/2 of 1 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the pasta:
- 2 cups Barilla Collezione pasta
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup corn
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
- cilantro, for garnish
- First, make the mole: Heat the chicken broth to almost boiling in a small bowl. Add the raisins and stir. Let soak.
- In a skillet over high heat, add the sliced corn tortilla, almonds, cocoa powder, chile powder, and red chili flakes. Toast while stirring constantly until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan, and place in a blender or food processor.
- Next, add the oil to the pan, and then add the tomato, onion and garlic. Char until nicely browned all over. Peel the garlic. Add the garlic, onion, and tomato to the blender or food processor.
- Turn the blender or food processor on low, and stream in the raisin-chicken broth mixture. Add the remaining ingredients: sugar, lime juice, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust salt if necessary.
- Puree the mole until very smooth; it may take 5 minutes to puree the almonds. When smooth, transfer to a small dish. You will have 1 cup of mole.
- Next, bring a medium pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water followed by the Collezione pasta. Cook the pasta for 13 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.
- Meanwhile, place the red pepper on a direct glass flame (or under the broiler) to char the skin. Once it is mostly blackened, place it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes. Peel the thin skin off the pepper, and slice the pepper.
- Next, char the corn in a skillet (I use the same pan I toasted the spices in).
- To assemble the pasta, mix the pasta with 1/2 cup of mole, the Greek yogurt, red pepper, corn, and shredded chicken. Garnish with cilantro and extra yogurt, if desired.
This post is sponsored by Safeway, Inc. They provided me with certain brands of ingredients, and paid for my recipe development skillz. All opinions, words, photos, and ideas in this post are my own. Thanks for letting me partner with brands to feature products that I already use in my kitchen. It helps keep the lights on ‘round this place ;)