The antipasto came after the pasta; well, the selection came after, but we kept the classic order. The smoky-paprika-rubbed lomo seemed a pretty appropriate introduction for what I expected would be a somewhat earthy primi, and it was (earthy, and appropriate).
- two ounces of thin slices of La Quercia Lomo, lonza di maiale stagionata) from Whole Foods, served with a bit of upland cress from Two Guys from Woodbridge, both pork and cress drizzled with a very small amount of a very good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.)
- slices of a small loaf of ciabatta from Hot Bread Kitchen
We love our local Sfoglini pasta, and when I’m at the Union Square Greenmarket I regularly check out their current line at the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project stall (I also watch for a small display at the stalls of farmers whose produce may have gone into one of them). When I spotted the package of their Bronx brewery BxB radiators in their market home ‘store’ I had to pick up a package. The description on the label read, “spent grain from Bronx Rye Pale Ale, which is comprised of five different barley malts, resulting in a roasted barley finish”. That sounded awesome to me.
It fulfilled both of our expectations.
I wanted to keep the pasta relatively unembellished, at least in order to check out the new flavor, so I kept the additions to a minimum. One of the most important, aside from the obligatory dried habanada, was a portion of a small stash of wild garlic.
- 8 ounces of Sfoglini Pasta Shop‘s Bronx brewery BxB radiators (“spent grain from Bronx Rye Pale Ale, which is comprised of five different barley malts, resulting in a roasted barley finish”, according to the maker), carefully boiled to ‘safe territory’, that is, something between ‘too hard’ and ‘too mushy’ (Barry, master pasta cook, tells me that it may not be possible to get the Sfoglini varieties which include exceptional ingredients precisely to an al dente moment), drained and tossed inside a large enameled cast iron pot in which a simple sauce had been created by warming some of tiny wild garlic bulbs, with their even tinier stems, all chopped, from Lani’s Farm, and a bit of crushed orange-golden dried Habanada pepper, the mix stirred over a low to medium flame, along with some reserved pasta water to emulsify it, seasoned with a little salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, divided into 2 shallow bowls, a little olive oil drizzled around the edges of the pasta, then only a small amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano Vache Rosse from Eataly grated over the top, garnished with a little micro red amaranth from Windfall Farms
- the wine was an Italian (Umbria) white, Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was the album ‘Guerre & Paix’ [War & Peace/Guerra & Paz], Jordi Savall directing Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya