Note to self: This entrée was a very special treat, and would be suitable for a gentle festive occasion.
This looks a bit like round ravioli, but it’s actually Croxetti, a very special (unfilled) pasta original to the Ligurian coast. I have something of a modest passion for it, and I’ve accumulated over a dozen attractive recipes to satisfy it. This is the first time I’ve had pea sprouts and Croxetti at the same time, so I came up with the idea of adding a bit of cured pork flavor to the mix. Having gotten that far, I really didn’t have to look for more in the way of an organized recipe, but this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, so, voilà!
Part of my obsession with Croxetti may be it’s resemblance to the wafers distributed to the faithful in the Catholic Eucharist. As a child, I really got off on the Roman Church’s ritual (smells, bells, pretty vestments, grand architecture, Latin!) and I’ve always been a fan of bread, in almost any form. Confession: when I was very young I tried to imitate the host which I found so delicious by simply undoing the leavening process which brought Wonder Bread to our table, by pressing the air out of a slice and drying it (it didn’t work, which means it may be all the more surprising that I left the Church half a century back).
- following, at least more or less, the simple Epicurious recipe I referred to above (note: I cooked everything for a much shorter time, and I drained the pasta as I normally do), I used a 500 gram package of Genovese Alta Valle Scrivia Croxetti from Eataly, a 4 ounce chunk of pancetta from Buon Italia which I diced, two shallots from S.&S.O. Produce Farms, pea sprouts from D’Attolico’s Farm, fantastic lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia
- the wine was an Italian white, Boirá Piniot Grigio Veneto 2014
- the music was Solti’s 1991 recording of ‘Carmen’, with Troyanos, Domingo, Van Dam, and Te Kanawa, which happily includes the original dialogue between the arias [and did I hear Bizet’s Don José sing a familiar bit from Wagner’s ‘Die Meistersinger’ at one point?]
Note: Using the quantities indicated above meant, that, as usual when we have a pasta dinner, there would be enough left for another meal. If the pasta is carefully stored and reheated within a few days (or not reheated, in some cases), perhaps with some fresh element added, the second time around is not necessarily going to be second-best, and it’s definitely a timesaver.