caprese; pasta, tomato, garlic, chili, cheeses, herb, crumbs


Batali’s good.

To begin, the first course, insalata Caprese is a classic, certainly not my own creation, and, as it turned out, neither was the spaghetti.

I really didn’t need a published recipe just to assemble a pasta dish with some very ripe Sun Gold tomatoes and a few odds and ends I had lying around the kitchen, or so I thought.

But I decided to look on line for something to get me jump-started. I found a deceivingly-simple Mario Batali invention which not only included ingredients I already had but in the amounts I had. I was only worried that it would be too predictable.

Actually, the result was sublime, with flavors far more complex than I would have thought possible with a bit of pasta, tomato, cheese, a bit of herb, and some breadcrumbs.

Yeah, cheese and breadcrumbs.

I made one substitution: Since the first course was clearly going to include a generous amount of basil, I used some mixed herbs (including a little basil) instead of basil alone, which the recipe suggested.

  • a caprese salad, assembled with one brilliant red ripe heirloom tomato from Norwich Meadows Farm, fresh hand-rolled mozzarella from Valley Shepherd Creamery, basil leaves from Keith’s Farm, Maldon salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, and a Campania olive oil, D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum
  • slices of a ‘Compagne’ (traditional sourdough) from Bien Cuit Bakery via Foragers Market


  • the recipe for the pasta is here, but the ingredients I used last night were sun gold tomatoes from Stokes Farm; garlic from Alewife Farm; dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia; and Afeltra spaghetti alla chitarra, from Eataly; a chopped herb mix of summer savory from Stokes Farm, oregano buds from Stokes Farm, and lovage and basil from Keith’s Farm; grated pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse, both from Buon Italia; and homemade breadcrumbs processed from a the heels of a variety of great breads
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Catarratto IGT, Bosco Falconeria 2013
  • the music was Vivaldi’s 1714 opera, ‘Orlando Finto Pazzo’, Alessandro De Marchi directing the Academia Montis Regalis and the Turin Teatro Regio Chorus