Recipes for Mixed Marriages
Campanelle con il pesto dell' aglio e della salvia (Bellflower Pasta with Sage and Garlic Pesto)
This is a variation on a simple butter and sage pasta dressing that occurred to me as a way to incorporate some fresh homegrown garlic. I decided to puree the fresh sage, oil, and garlic, which created a marvelous creamy sauce with little sage flecks throughout. I had a package of campanelle pasta from Barilla, and it seemed the ideal vehicle for coating with a creamy pasta sauce. The campanelle (bellflowers) are little funnels of broad pasta with a ruffle on the edge. They cook in about half the time the package directions call for, so start testing for doneness after 6 minutes. Any delicate shape could be substituted, such as farfalle. Serves four as a pasta course or two for a main meal, with leftovers.
Serve this pasta with a mesclun (mixed greens) salad and a bottle of Lamezia or Primitivo from Calabria, or a Cotes du Rhône Villages.
Warm a platter or pasta bowl.
Bring four quarts of water to boil in a small stockpot. Add 2-3 tbs. of kosher salt and the pasta. Stir. Adjust the heat. Test after 6 minutes and drain into a colander when done, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Do not rinse.
Put the pasta back into the empty cooking pot and combine with the sauce, using a drizzle of the pasta water if needed to get the pasta to coat evenly. Add a handful of grated pecarino Romano and stir to mix and coat the pasta. Transfer to the platter, add a grinding of pepper, and an extra sprinkle of cheese.
Serve with more cheese, a mesclun salad, and a red wine.
Use a leftover vinaigrette or a lemony Caesar dressing (see Hail! Caesar) and simply toss with a good mix of leaf lettuce and bitter herbs. Add kosher salt and a grinding of pepper.
The classic Italian dressing is no dressing at all, but a verb, to dress. Place the washed and dried greens in a salad bowl. Add a splash of wine vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Toss lightly. Add good cold pressed olive oil and toss a little more. Crush some Greek oregano off the stem between your fingers and sprinkle over all. Add another small pinch of salt, and a liberal grinding of pepper.
A Spanish proverb quoted
by Alexandre Dumas says that to make a good salad, you entrust the vinegar
to a miser, the salt to a judge, and the olive oil to a spendthrift. He
doesn't say anything about the pepper.