Golden Taupe Smoked Pasta et La Taupe


It’s a rather boring color with a bit of a chichi reputation.  It’s so much more sophisticated than, say, tan or beige.

It’s an elusive color with many versions and variations but nothing definitive, like ‘red’ or ‘blue’.

It’s also the French word for the wretched little blind creature that is destroying our gardens.

La taupe!  That’s where the color comes from: the color of the skin of ‘la taupe’, the mole.

In France, at least in rural France, each commune has a taupe-killer.  In our little area it’s the son of the Mayor’s Secretary.  I have no idea if he has another job or if killing moles is his full time vocation.

We’ve called him every spring and he comes around a day or so later with his stick and pipe.  The routine is simple: he finds recent mounds, digs with the stick to find the hole then  drops a pellet of something lethal through the pipe into the burrow.  He charges 16 euros ($20.00)  total and guarantees his work for a year.

He came in April, one year after his last visit.  La taupe had been busy in my herb garden, even pushing up dirt through the black plastic and gravel covered paths.   The whole garden was carefully checked, each mound attended to.  We were done for another year, I assumed.

About 3 weeks later I glanced out the bedroom window and saw a mound of dirt about 2 feet across and 1 foot high.  La taupe est retournée!  He brought his friends.  There were a dozen or more mounds.  I called, the taupe-killer came and repeated his task.  No charge: the work is guaranteed.

About 4 weeks later the same thing! This time the mounds were bigger and even more prolific.  I also found one working in the vines and another near the potager.  I called again.  He came again.  This time I insisted on paying; after all, there were obviously new moles in new places that he couldn’t possibly have eradicated the first two times.  He smilingly refused any payment.   The work is guaranteed.

Yesterday, we had him come yet again.   More mounds; bigger mounds; but in a new area.  He cheerfully did his job, once again refusing payment.   The work is guaranteed.

He laughed and said ‘La taupe’ were working very hard everywhere this year!  I do hope he has another job that actually supports him!Smokedpan

What, you are wondering, does all this have to do with Presto Pasta Night, started and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast?

Simple: Golden Taupe – the color of Smoked Pasta!

The recipe, Smoked Pasta, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Smoked Pasta with Cheese.

Smoked pasta, you say?  You bet your sweet ….

This is based on a recipe I found years ago in ‘Joy of Grilling’ and it’s utterly, absolutely fantastic.  We don’t make it often as it’s a bit time consuming and we usually get out the big smoker for it.  And as long as we have the smoker fired-up we usually smoke some salmon as well.  You can do it on a kettle-type grill (Weber) but you do need charcoal and wood chips.

This is an honored recipient of my “DO” award (digestive org*sm).

Stop by  Once Upon a Feast on Friday to see all of the wonderful pasta recipes.

If you want more information on smoking see Thyme for Cooking Techniques.

New addition: I forgot that I had described how to build a smoker from a cardboard box on a previous post   I saw Alton Brown do it on Good Eats (T.V. show in the U.S.) – the link to his article doesn’t work but my description is there.

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19 thoughts on “Golden Taupe Smoked Pasta et La Taupe”

  1. Smoked pasta? Never heard of it — what an intriguing idea! The taupes, unfortunately, are no strangers to my garden, but I have not seen them for several years. Perhaps they’ve moved to France….

  2. Moles! Shudder. They terrify me, because of the damage they do. We had one in a community garden where I had a plot years ago. He was “retired” by an elderly man who had a plot near mine.
    The pasta looks so yummy! I’ve never smoked pasta either! And I must!

  3. Katie, this looks really good! I just don’t have the facility to smoke like that. Perhaps that should be on my wish list.
    I suppose just a little flakes salmon added to that pasta would be very nice also.
    Wonder if that could be done with one of those stove top smoker pans? Might have to look into that.

  4. It should be masculine, Ulrike, nothing feminine about the little critters!
    Lydia, smoked pasta is wonderful (she says, humbly). You may have your taupes back…
    Sher, mon mari tried ‘retiring’ one with a shovel… didn’t work. Our neighbor shoots them, didn’t much like that idea. Smoking the pasta is very easy – just get it ready and wait!
    Tanna, you can do it on a weber-type if you have that, I don’t know about gas grils or stove-top smokers but I would think anything with low heat and smoke would work. Worth a try – and if it didn’t work, you’d still have some pretty good pasta!

  5. The guy came out several times and never charged you again? And wouldn’t take payment because the work is guaranteed? No made-up excuses why the guarantee didn’t count? You mean there are people who actually do business like that?? *falls over in shock*
    Wow. Just, wow.
    And the pasta looks amazing, too! 🙂

  6. Cyberdelia, I know, I feel so guilty… I didn’t even want to call him the last time!
    He seems perfectly happy, though.
    Pille, it was new to me the first time I tried, too. I love to make it for guests… everyont is so curious about it!

  7. Katie
    So glad I discovered your post through Ruth’s PPN…so interesting. Love your stories. I saw Alton Brown(love his brilliant programmes) construct that smoker too but put it in the too hard basket Might look at it now.

  8. oh those moles~what a pain in the butt they are. We had them in Seattle, all over the place. My husband was completely fed up and frustrated because nothing was working.So of course he did the “manly” thing by getting out his 357 magnum and started blowing up the mounds~no, it didn’t work. But he felt better……smoked pasta sounds devine~and i see what you mean about the lovely results!

  9. Gilli, I’m glad you found it, too! Alton makes it all look so easy, though. I, also, love his show! I like his do-it-yourself attitude…. mon mari is a lot like that – usually it works without too much damage in the trying LOL
    Jann, they can do so much damage so quickly! I’m surprised mon mari didn’t damage something part of him when he whacked the mole – he swung that shovel awfully hard… and he felt better (mole lived).
    Pasta = GOOD!

  10. Katie, don’t try to retire a mole with a shovel. My MIL did it and all relatives came to bemoan the loss.

  11. What a great story – one of those it’s fun to read about, but obviously not to experience!
    Thanks for sharing the smoked pasta with Presto Pasta Nights…what a great idea.

  12. I just need to taste that dish! It is seriously comfort food to the max with the smoky goodness. Here in TN, we take smoking our food seriously!

  13. How unique! I don’t have a smoker or Kirschwasser(impossible to find!), so I will let my eyes feast on your wonderful pasta instead.

  14. Okay, Ulrike, what’s the rest of that story?
    Ruth, we think we have them eradicated now (she says, fingers crossed)
    CC, I’m not sure which mon mari likes better: eating the pasta or playing with the smoker… boys and their toys!
    Lannae, we may be northeners, but we take ALL our food seriously… including smoking. Mon mari wants to build a proper smokehouse… heaven help us!
    Nora, you can build a smoker from a box and substitute any fruit based eau de vie… Yikes, that sounds like work, sorry about that… Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Wow, smoked pasta — what a novel idea. I’ve never heard of cooking a pasta dish on the grill before, but now I want to try it right away. Great substitute for heating the oven and kitchen. And — who doesn’t want a D.O?!

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