These are some of my favorite things: excellent Italian artisanal pasta, and, not incidentally, with a very sexy shape; Südtiroler Speck; and local ramps, those alliums of the abbreviated season; not to forget the good Italian olive oil; and grated Italian parmesan cheese. So the dish was basically assembled out of passion, but also necessity: I had the more perishable ingredients on hand and didn’t want to wait longer to use them; I also didn’t have much time to cook dinner that night, and this dish would be very quick. And it really was an improvisation. The Speck had been in the refrigerator longer than it should have, and had just begun to dry out a bit. No longer ideal as an antipasto, it would add great flavor to the dish I was beginning to put together in my head.
I don’t remember worrying about any recipe; I just dove right in. One caution: separate the bulbs of the ramps from the leaves, toss them in a bit of oil before adding the Speck, heating it very briefly, then tossing in the ramp leaves.
I prepared the dish a couple weeks back, did not leave any footprints, and I also don’t remember the details, but I think the smaller ‘specks’ which appear on the pasta are chopped thyme.
- the pasta was ‘Vesuvio’, by Il Pastaio di Gragnano; the Speck from Eataly; the ramps from Lucky Dog Organic; the thyme, if that is what it was, from Eataly
- the wine was a Spanish white, Shaya old vines, verdejo Rueda 2013
- the music was Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonato No. 1, on Naxos