There was no plan, other than the idea that some baby eggplant would play a major role in this pasta. But then I quickly learned that I had a smaller amount of the vegetable than I had thought, so I looked around the kitchen for a supporting cast.
I ended up with 2 kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of allium, and a bit of other stuff. What resulted was so delicious I’d say that the mix had proved to be inspired, except that my choices were more of necessity than imagination.
The biggest surprise however was the way it appeared when it arrived on the table: There were 2 different versions. The first helping was loaded with pieces of eggplant and green tomato, but we couldn’t locate the cherry tomatoes inside the low bowls (the other, thinner and lighter-colored tomato just about melted into the pasta); when I scooped out the second, smaller serving from the pot in which everything had cooked, there were gold cherry tomatoes everywhere, but not a single section of eggplant could be seen. The small tomatoes had apparently slipped through the pasta, with an ease denied the eggplant, with its odd shapes. It’s a mystery why I hadn’t noticed that when serving the pasta, when I could have compensated for it.
- one large clove of Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm heated with a tablespoon or more of olive oil (more added as needed during the following steps) inside a large tin-lined high-sided pot until softened, followed by 5 or 6 baby white eggplants from Berried Treasures, chopped into bite-size pieces, which were sautéed until they had begun to caramelize before one scarlet or Japanese scallion, thickly-sliced, and finely-chopped pieces of a small Calabrian medium hot cherry pepper from Alewife Farm were added to the pot and allowed to soften, followed by stirring in 10 or so halved ripe orange cherry tomatoes and one small thinly-sliced light green heirloom tomato, all from Berried Treasures Farm, the vegetables seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and finally 8 ounces of Afeltra linguine from Eataly that had been cooked inside a large pot of salted water until barely al dente, then drained (reserving 1 cup of the cooking water), were added to the vegetables and mixed in, the reserved cooking water added as needed and stirred with the pasta, to emulsify the liquid, served in shallow bowls with a final drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano Vache Rosse from Eataly
- the wine was an Italian (Friuli) white, Ronchi di Cialla Ribolla Gialla 2015, from Garnet Wines
There was a dessert.
- a scoop of some terrific Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo Sweet Cream Ice Cream [buffalo milk, organic farm eggs, pure cane sugar, organic coconut flour, and salt] dropped into the hollowed-out deseeded cores of 2 horizontally-sliced portions of half of an Asian melon from Norwich Meadows Farm, some blackberries from Locust Grove Orchards scattered over both, and some of the berries, mashed with a little turbinado sugar and a teaspoon or so of Toschi Orzata Orgeat syrup, poured over the top
- the music was the album, ‘Bach & Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos‘, Sabine Weyer, piano, Olga Pak, violin (in the Mendelssohn, a Double Concerto), with the Berlin Camerata