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‘midnight pasta’, with garlic, anchovy, capers, chiles, herbs

midnight_spaghettone

I’ve cooked this simple dish many times, and it’s shown up on this blog three times before. It never fails to satisfy whatever either of us was looking for in a meal at the moment; usually it was when we didn’t have the time or patience to come up with something more complicated.

  • approximately 8 ounces of Afeltra spaghettone, from Eataly, boiled, but only until still pretty firmly al dente, tossed inside the same pot in which it had cooked with a very savory sauce (created with 4 plump garlic cloves from Whole Foods, roughly chopped, cooked in about a third of a cup of olive oil over low-medium heat until softened and beginning to brown, 3 salted anchovies, well-rinsed, added to the pan and mashed with a wooden spoon, a tablespoon of Mediterranean organic wild capers in brine (from a Providence, RI distributor), rinsed and drained, half of one dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia), along with several tablespoons of chopped parsley from Eataly, an equal amount of chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge, and a little of the reserved pasta water, then simmered for another minute or so while the sauce was both emulsified and slightly reduced, the mix distributed in two bowls and sprinkled with another few tablespoons of parsley and lovage
  • the wine was an Italian (Sardinia) white, La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna 2013
  • the music was the remaining part of Aulis Sallinen’s, ‘The King Goes Forth To France’, the scenes which we were unable to hear during dinner the night before.

‘midnight pasta’ (garlic/anchovy/capers/chilies/parsley)

Midnight_Pasta

It wasn’t yet midnight when we sat down to this pasta dish yesterday after returning from a performance of Robert Ashley’s opera-novel, ‘Quicksand’, at another ‘kitchen’, The Kitchen. The designation ‘Midnight Pasta’ is not my doing, but is rather inspired by its simplicity, the fact that all of its ingredients are staples nelle cucine italiane, and the speed with which it can be prepared (20 minutes or so).  The affectionate name, in Italian, ‘spaghettata di mezzanotte‘, hints at its popularity.

I cut a printed version of the recipe, by David Tanis, out of the ‘Dining’ section of the New York Times back in 2011.  The article’s titillating headline read, “At the End of the Night, Satisfaction“.  In fact, there may be an almost infinite number of variations to this meal, and I imagine almost all of them are equally seductive.

We had seconds, and skipped a cheese course.

I followed the Tanis recipe more or less as printed, although I reduced the amount of pasta, and that of the remaining ingredients in the same proportion.  I also added some reserved pasta water and emulsified it in in pan where the cooked and drained pasta had been returned.  Also, while I did not use Parmesan cheese he mentioned as an option, I further tweaked his formula by adding some toasted homemade breadcrumbs to the top of the sauced spaghetti once it had been placed in the two bowls.

  • the ingredients I used were 11 ounces of Setaro spaghetti from Buon Italia; 3 garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm; 3 rinsed and filleted salted anchovies from Buon Italia; a tablespoon of capers, also from Buon Italia; much of one peperoncino di Sardegna intero (yes, Buon Italia too); 2 tablespoons of Italian parsley from Eataly, chopped; and two tablespoons of breadcrumbs I had made from a number of different kinds of bread, ground in my vintage Osterizer (one of the very few electric appliances I have in the kitchen)
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Fuori Strada Grillo 2014, whose gorgeous soft packaging, the makers describe as safe for a bicycle water bottle (we weren’t on bikes last night)
  • the music included a good number of pieces in the box CD set, Music From The ONCE Festival 1961- 1966 (of which Robert Ashley was one of the founders)

‘midnight pasta’ (here, garlic/anchovy/capers/chili/parsley)

midnight_pasta_garlic_anchovy_capers_chili

Demonstrating one again the importance of the emergency pasta, ‘spaghettata di mezzanotte‘, or bachelor’s salvation, even for non-bachelors, I put this together last night on the evening of my own (pretty-special-number) birthday, when we were unable to plan for a more serious entrée, both because of our schedule and an unanticipated cancellation.

It was as delicious as always.

 

  • approximately 10 ounces of Afeltra linguine, from Eataly, boiled, but only until pretty firmly al dente, tossed inside the same pot in which it had cooked, with a sauce made of 4 plump rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, roughly chopped, cooked in about a third of a cup of olive oil over low-medium heat until softened and beginning to brown, 3 salted anchovies, well-rinsed, added to the pan and mashed with a wooden spoon, as well as half of one dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, several tablespoons of chopped parsley from Paffenroth Farms, and a little of the reserved pasta water, all simmered for a few minutes while the sauce was both emulsified and slightly reduced, the entire mix distributed in two bowls and sprinkled with another few tablespoons of parsley
  • the wine was an Italian (Tuscan) white, Vernaccia di San Gimignano D.O.C.G. 2014
  • the music was streamed from the WKCR classical Kurt Masur marathon, celebrating the recordings of the great German conductor, who had died in Connecticut earlier in the day (the marathon continues until midnight on Sunday)

spaghetto with olive oil, anchovies, capers, peperoncino

It’s sometimes called ‘midnight pasta’. I’ve cooked this simple dish many times, and it’s shown up on this blog four times before. I wrote last time, “It never fails to satisfy whatever either of us was looking for in a meal at the moment; usually it was when we didn’t have the time or patience to come up with something more complicated.”

It’s a great dish.

And so simple.

  • approximately 8 ounces of Afeltra spaghetto, from Eataly, boiled, but only until still pretty firmly al dente, tossed inside the same pot in which it had cooked with a very savory sauce (created with 4 garlic cloves from Trader Joe’s, roughly chopped, cooked in about a third of a cup of olive oil over low-medium heat until softened and beginning to brown, then 4 salted anchovies, well-rinsed, added to the pan and mashed with a wooden spoon, a tablespoon of Mediterranean organic wild capers in brine (from a Providence, RI distributor), rinsed and drained, half of one dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia), along with several tablespoons of chopped parsley from Eataly, and a little of the reserved pasta water, then simmered for another minute or so while the sauce was both emulsified and slightly reduced, the mix distributed in two bowls and sprinkled with a little more parsley
  • the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Saladini Pilastri Falerio 2015, from Philippe Wines
  • the music was Lorenzo Ferrero‘s 1985 comic opera, ‘Mare nostro

late night supper: crab cake, tomato salsa; red cress salad

crab_cake_tomato_salsa_cress

‘midnight pasta’, but this time without the pasta

 

We had been to a holiday party, and although we had enjoyed some terrific hors d’oeuvres (Chinese-Portuguese tapas, actually), when we arrived back home we both felt we could use a little more substance. I had anticipated the probabliity by defrosting two crab cakes earlier in the day, the trusty central ingredient of one of my go-to, short-notice meals.  The whole deal probably took less time than boiling a pot of water, but it wasn’t a race, so who cares?

  • two crab cakes from PE & DD Seafood (ingredients: crab, egg, flour, red & green peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, celery, parsley), heated in a heavy cast iron pan, 3 to 4 minutes on each side, and served on a bed of 6 Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, which were chopped and combined with salt, black pepper, one finely-chopped fresh not-so-hot red cayenne pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, and some chopped fresh oregano leaves from Stokes Farm, and then some of the liquid from the salsa drizzled over the cakes
  • red watercress from Max Fish Hatchery, washed, drained, dried, and dressed with good olive oil, organic lemon juice, salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
  • the wine was a California (Central Valley) white, JC van Staden Pinot Grigio 2014
  • the music was that of (Johann) Michael Haydn, who was no slouch, even compared with his brilliant older brother