It was the eve of Christmas, which we observe mainly with good cheer, a little irony, and a good meal, one that’s always on the light side, anticipating an even greater treat the next day, an approach, for what it’s worth, that mimic’s the Christian devotional tradition.
Mafaldine happens to be one of the most fresh beautiful pastas in Eataly’s shop (it’s also a great name, and reflects a fascinating story), so of course, almost as often as I spot it, I try to come up with something special to enjoy it with.
But first there was an antipasto.
- four ounces of Naturalissima Jamon Serrano Dry Cured Ham from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, drizzled with a good Greek olive oil (Demi, from the Peloponnese, Laconia, Vellesa)
- lettuce, beautiful butter flat leaf red salanova lettuce, from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, dressed with the same olive oil, local sea salt from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, freshly ground black pepper, and Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar
- slices of an in-house potato baguette from Eataly
- the wine was a Spanish (Jerez), sherry, Gonzalez-Byass “Tio Pepe” Fino Sherry, from Astor Wines
The pasta course was just as basic, as it merely combined a great fresh form with a great fresh summer survivor, some tomatoes that had managed to hold off until winter.
- one pound (4 ‘nests’) of fresh Mafaldine pasta (semolina flour, water) from Eataly Flatiron cooked for a couple minutes before combined with a simple sauce made by heating in a deep, enameled cast-iron pot 2 roughly-chopped cloves of rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm and a bit of finely chopped green celery from Norwich Meadows Farm until both were pungent and softened, stirring, along with some reserved pasta cooking water, until the liquid had emulsified, tossing in a small basket of a mix of slightly punctured late December heirloom cherry tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm, seasoned with our local P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company’s sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper, with a generous amount of fresh chopped thyme (Uncle Vinny’s) from the 23rd Street West Side Market, mixed in, the pasta removed to shallow bowls, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with more of the herb
- the wine with the pasta was an Italian (Umbria) white, Barberani, Grechetto, 2017, from Flatiron Wines
- the music throughout was very time sensitive: Berlioz’ gorgeous Christmas oratorio, ‘L’enfance Du Christ’, Philippe Herreweghe conducting the Ghent Collegium Vocale and La Chapelle Royale Paris, with the Champs-Élysées Orchestra (the composer referred to it as a “Trilogie sacrée”, the three sections describing the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt; most of it was were composed mostly in 1853 and 1854)