Barry is always the capocuoco when it comes to stirring and timing the pasta, and he always brings it in al dente, as he did last night. Even if it was really no big thing in the end, on my side I let us down a bit: The garlic scapes did not end up al dente. They still tasted very good, but let’s say they were a little chewy (“fibrous”, I heard Barry say under his breath). I blame it, justifiably or not, on the fact that they were very late in their season, and that might also explain why they had a stronger flavor than usual.
But everything else was super, making it easier to ignore the chewy bits.
And the fennel flowers were brilliant.
- 8 ounces from a package of Setaro spaghetti chitarra from Buon Italia, served with a simple fresh sauce which began with 3 minced cloves of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm and 2 cups of garlic scapes from Berried Treasures Farm, cut into 2-inch lengths, sautéed in olive oil for 3-4 minutes (which turned out not to be long enough this time; see above), accompanied halfway through by parts of one ‘cherry bomb’ (or ‘red bomb’) pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, after which a little butter, most of the juice of one lemon, and most of its zest, added to the pan, the drained pasta mixed in once the butter had melted, and all stirred over low heat, during which time some reserved cooking water was added to help emulsify it, seasoned with salt and pepper, and sprinkled with very fresh chopped fennel flowers, and some of the fronds, from Willow Wisp Farm
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Insolia 2013, from Philippe Wine in Chelsea
- the music was the Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5 of Ferdinand Ries, Howard Griffiths conducting the Zurich Chamber Orchestra