speck; mafaldine with garlic, red onion, tomatoes, basil


I had just gone to Eatlay for bread yesterday, but as I was passing Luca Donofrio‘s fresh pasta counter I spotted this awesome-looking pasta. I had already decided I was going to put together a very simple meal tonight, and I immediately realized that this mafaldine would make it special even without tweaking of any kind.

I was also a little excited (also sad) about the surprisingly modern history of the name the Italians have given the pasta: the ill-fated Princess Mafalda of Savoy is the reference.




We were 3 at dinner. Our friend Michelle Vaughan had come by to drop off a huge organic bounty from the gardens outside her cottage, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York, north of the city, and of course we wouldn’t let her go.

We began with a course of salumi.

  • thinly-sliced Speck from the Südtirol/Alto Adige, via Eataly, drizzled with a fine olive oil, a Campania D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum’, and served with curly kale leaves from Michelle Vaughan and Lower Hayfields, also drizzled with the olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a few drops of white balsamic
  • the bread was a Rustico Classico from Eataly
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rosé Lodi 2015

The main course came together with the pasta I mentioned above, and some deep-red cherry tomatoes with the most awesome flavor. I believe they are actually an heirloom variety, ‘black cherry tomato’. It was the last of my supply of any tomatoes before it was replenished by Michelle with several kinds of cherry tomatoes; at least 4 kinds of heirloom tomatoes, including plum tomatoes; 2 kinds of sweet peppers; fingerling potatoes; and curly kale.

  • one pound of fresh Mafaldine pasta from Eataly, with a sauce made by heating in a deep, enameled cast-iron pot 2 roughly-chopped cloves of garlic from Willow Wisp Farm with one very small red pearl onion from Paffenroth Farms, and most of one small red Calabrian pepper from Campo Rosso Farm, until all were pungent and softened, tossing in a good number of halved black cherry tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, stirring, some reserved pasta cooking water added to help emulsify the mix, seasoned with salt and pepper, a generous amount of torn New York CIty basil from Gotham Greens via Whole Foods mixed in, the pasta removed to 3 shallow bowls, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with more basil and some homemade breadcrumbs (browned a little earlier in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt)
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, I Vini della Sibilla Falanghina dei Campi Flegrei 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault

We finished with a small plate of cheese and a few very ripe black figs.

  • Consider Bardwell’s ‘Rupert’, a cow cheese; ‘Coupole’, a goat cheese from Vermont Creamery, via Foragers Market; and Bergflichte’ [‘mountain fir’], a soft washed-rind Jersey cow cheese from Canton Thurgau, in northern Switzerland, via Eataly
  • black California figs from Whole Foods
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music throughout the very long evening was that of our voices, eventually fortissimo, as we got into discussing politics of all things