The meal was something of a break from the at least relative intensity of some of those that have appeared on our table recently; it really was a very simple, totally unstressful construction.
It mostly included things already in the larder, but I added a small fennel bulb, because it was there, and because I knew that it wouldn’t have gotten any fresher by the time I figured out what I might do with it otherwise.
I skipped the anchovies, which would normally be a part of this classic pasta, thinking that to do so would keep it lighter, but the dish would probably have been even more interesting if I had not.
- while the water for boiling 8 ounces of Setaro spaghetti chitarra from Buon Italia was being readied in a large stainless pasta pot, one small fennel bulb, halved and sliced thinly crosswise, was heated with a little olive oil over a low-medium flame inside a large enameled cast iron pot until it had barely begun to soften, then 2 fat garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm, coarsely-chopped, were added, along with an additional quarter cup of olive oil, the flame turned down, the garlic gently heated until it had softened and begun to turn golden, followed by part of a dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, crushed, a tablespoon or two of roughly-chopped parsley from Phillips Farm and about a quarter cup of the pasta cooking water, the mix then allowed to simmer and reduce slightly, while the pasta finished cooking (removed from the pot after only about 6 minutes, while still a little chewy in the center), at which time the spaghetti was drained, tossed into the pot with the sauce, and, the heat turned up slightly, cooked further, stirring, for another minute or two, then arranged in 2 shallow bowls with another tablespoon or two of parsley sprinkled on top
There was a cheese course.
- a blue (still unnamed) goat cheese and ‘Manchester’ goat cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm
- thin toasts of a French-style organic whole wheat and whole spelt miche from Bread Alone
- the wine throughout was an Italian (Campania) white, Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2015, from Philippe Wine and Spirits
- the music was 4 of Michael Haydn’s Symphonies, Nos. 15, 16, 19, and 21 (all composed in the 1780s), the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Pardubice conducted by Patrick Gallois