Ground cherries aren’t just for salads, salsas and spreads. The pasta recipe described below doesn’t conform with any known Italian tradition, but until about 300 years ago neither did the tomato, so maybe in another hundred or so . . . .
I hadn’t yet published the post I had begun two weeks ago (describing a very good meal featuring squash-filled ravioli), when we enjoyed virtually the same entree again two nights ago. It was a winner both times, so I’ve decided to use the second meal as an opportunity to post something which would include the binary date 10/10/10. Of course the real reason for this blog is the deliciousness of the meal – and the fact that it was almost a complete, largely-serendipitous invention of my own. It’s also incredibly simple, quick, very, very easy, and clearly healthy. Also, if you’re as fond of squash- or pumpkin-stuffed pasta as I am, but slightly tired of sage and butter route and looking for new ways to enjoy it, read on.
- sliced heirloom tomatoes (two small “peach” heirlooms and one small orange heirloom, all from the Berried Treasures Farm Greenmarket stand), served with drops of good oil and castings of shredded basil, the herb also from the Greenmarket; accompanied by an awesome chevre from the Greenmarket’s Ardith Mae Goat Cheese and thin slices of Balthazar Bakery‘s multigrain crescent bread, from Citarella
- squash-filled ravioli from Eataly (fresh egg pasta “stars” stuffed with pumpkin, amaretti, mustard, salt and nutmeg), sauced with oil and a bit of cooking water, a handful of halved ground cherries (a recent obsession of mine) from Pittstown’s Oak Grove Plantation in the Greenmarket, chopped cutting celery* from Brewster’s Ryder Farm stand, also in the Greenmarket, a generous crush of pink peppercorns (a secret passion) purchased, some time ago, from Dean & Deluca in Tribeca, oil, and grated Parmesan
- wine: Sicilian white, Corvo Fiore 2009, from Eataly Wines
* in September the ground cherries used were from Berried Treasures; also, I had used lovage instead of cutting celery; I’m not surprised that I preferred the lovage, but then on the second night I tried a few pieces of pasta with some torn anise hyssop leaves, from cuttings picked up at Keith’s Farm in the Greenmarket, suggesting it and any number of other herbal possibilities
We may have thought a bit more than usual in choosing an appropriate wine for this meal. An Alentejo would have been appropriate, and probably super, but we didn’t have a Portuguese red in our rack. We ended up opening this Crianza from Bierzo, an area of Spain just 50 miles north and east of its Iberian neighbor, although I think we chose it mostly because, having had it before, we knew it was very good.
Also, the pairing of the rich, peppery pork and the faintly-crunchy wax beans, which were rendered even sweeter by my serendipitous addition of the ground cherries and lovage I had on hand, was a match made in heaven, if not actually in either Portugal or Spain.
- Roberto grissini, spicy red radishes from the Greenmarket
- Portuguese-style cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin, here meaning a tenderloin purchased from Eataly and prepared according to a recipe in David Leite’s beautiful and scrumptious “The New Portuguese Table“, where the small loin is stuffed with grated Parmesan cheese, coated in a classic “Amped-up Red Pepper Paste” (with a few substitutions), left to marinate in the refrigerator for six hours, browned in duck fat ten minutes or so, and roasted in the oven for ten more, finished with a sauce made by deglazing the browning pan with white wine and some good beef stock (as well as a dollop of duck demi-glaze, left over from the same recent meal from which the duck fat was salvaged) the liquid then reduced, and finished with a generous garnish of chopped Titan parsley (Italian-type, but dark-green and more bushy-looking, with leaves slightly curled on the edges), from the Greenmarket’s adventurous Paffenroth Gardens; accompanied by par-boiled wax beans briefly reheated in oil and then tossed with halved ground cherries and shredded lovage leaves (the beans and “cherries” from Berried Treasures Farm, the lovage from another farmer, both stalls in the Greenmarket); and slices of a very sturdy ciabatta, made with unbleached whole-grain wheat flower, bread from Bobolink Dairy, also in the Greenmarket (the bread is from their brand-new oven)
- wine: Spanish, Leon, Flavium Crianza Bierzo 2006, from from Phillipe Wine
- (because we had neither Aguardente nor Bagaço, yet some kind of “digestivo” seemed like a very appropriate followup to this course) grappa, here a golden form (aged 12 months in French oak), Grappa Velia, from Mastroberardino, a surprising survivor from a trip we made to Naples too many years ago