pasta e Ceci with foraged garlic mustard greens


We’ve already enjoyed the basic recipe for this luscious pasta twice.  But I’ve never before had the privilege of welcoming foraged garlic mustard greens into my kitchen; last night this dish became the medium. I decided to mix most of them into the pasta at the very end of the cooking, and sprinkle a few of the most tender shoots on the top once the mix had been introduced into two bowls.

We’re not likely to be the only Greenmarket patrons who would like  to thank Alewife Farm for collecting these wonderful greens, and also for another, almost equally stunning market innovation, arugula rabe, which starred in an entrée the night before. I’m looking forward to more surprises from these folks, and from so many other farmers I visit each week.

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 medium cloves of chopped garlic from Whole Foods, 2 generously-sized rosemary sprigs from Stokes Farm, and 4 rinsed and fileted salted anchovies from Buon Italia, briefly sautéed inside a large non-reactive pot until the anchovies had broken up, a 16-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (already-chopped or whole, and ideally without basil), with the juices, added and cooked for 10 minutes, crushing with a wooden spoon if the tomatoes are whole, salt added to taste, the heat increased and a can of good chick peas, with their liquid, poured in, along with about 2 cups of good chicken broth or water, and a third sprig of rosemary, everything brought to a soft boil before half a pound of Setaro ‘nodi marini‘ from Buon Italia was added (alternatively, some other small pasta, like farfalle or a small penne or rigatoni can be used), the heat now reduced to a healthy simmer until the pasta was cooked al dente and the broth thick, while stirring frequently (this may take half an hour), adding more liquid if necessary, stirring in most of a quarter pound of washed foraged garlic mustard greens from Alewife Farm before lifting the finished pasta into bowls, where it was drizzled with a little olive oil, scattered with the remaining (selected, smaller greens) and sprinkled with good grated Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia [the basic recipe for the pasta comes from, but I have altered or annotated it here, mostly to reflect my own experience]
  • the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) red, Poderi Roset Dolcetto d’Alba 2013
  • the gorgeous music was Christopher Cerrone’s ‘Invisible Cities’: An invisible opera for wireless headphones’