December 26 is second Christmas, and a legal holiday, in most European countries, but not in the U.S. (Americans don’t believe in official days off). At our house it’s at least an excuse for another good meal, even if we don’t need excuses.
Also, I, at least, have every day off.
It makes sense to Barry and I that we go for something lighter than what we enjoyed for the feast of the day before. This year, having learned Monday afternoon after I had walked over to Union Square that there was no Greenmarket that day, and therefore no local fish, I decided to pick up up one of Luca Donofrio‘s fresh pastas at Eataly on my way back from the empty park. There I found something very special, a handmade white truffle-filled pasta (the filling had been placed on one side of a ravioli square, the pasta then folded over and pinched shut, making some beautiful rectangular purses).
The noble ingredient tuber magnatum meant that it wouldn’t be cheap, but this was der Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag, and we were both feeling special that yesterday.
Then I realized that what was in front of me represented a little less than half of a pound, and that was it for the day; not really very much. Luca suggested that it would be the perfect amount for a primi, for two. The problem was that I hadn’t intended to prepare a secondo, especially if it meant cooking meat a second day in a row.
I turned instead to the charcuterie and cheese counter across the large room, where, after an amusing discussion with other customers and the store people, and also a bit of sampling, I bought a wonderful local [Westchester County – Larchmount!] smoked bresaola and also found the very special cheese, Castelmagno D’alpeggio DOP Guffanti, which Luca had suggested I might sprinkle on the pasta if I really wasn’t going to be satisfied with melted butter alone.
That night, while I was ready to assemble a third course, of local cheese and fruit, after we had really enjoyed these two, we decided we were more than satisfied without one.
The antipasto featured a salumi.
- three ounces of smoked bresaola from Larchmont Charcuterie, via Eatlay, arranged on two plates with a small amount of mizuna from Lani’s Farm, both drizzled with a good olive oil (Campania D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum’) and the juice from 2 tiny green-flesh local lemons from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island,, the greens seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper
- Bien Cuit sourdough with Halkidiki (green) olive
The primi was extraordinarily simple.
- seven ounces of white truffle-filled pasta, ‘Plin con Tartufo Bianco’ (white truffle, egg, Parmagiano, olive oil, salt, and white pepper) from Luca Donofrio’s pastificio inside the Flatiron Eataly, cooked for 2 minutes in a large pot of salted water, drained and tossed gently in a high-sided 10″ copper pot in which 2 tablespoons of rich Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter had been melted, divided into two shallow bowls and sprinkled with a little crumbled Castelmagno D’alpeggio DOP Guffanti from Eataly
- Bien Cuit sourdough with Halkidiki (green) olive, to help with the truffle-butter-cheese sauce that remained
- the wine through both courses was an Italian (Piedmont) red, Cavallotto Vigna Scot Dolcetto d’Alba 2015 from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music, also through both courses, was
Also, and I’m coming out with it this one time: While we don’t usually have desserts, after the formal part of this meal and often that of others, there was access to chocolate-covered raisins and candied ginger pieces (washing dishes is not always its own reward).