It was to be one of those intervals between nights which featured meat or fish, and it was going to be either a frittata or a pasta. The decision was made shortly after I began burrowing around in my vegetable inventory. There I found a tidy cache of celery root, and not much more. Looking around on the internet, I soon realized that a marriage of celeriac and pasta didn’t seem at all out of the question, especially with the right condiments, and my kitchen can usually provide those.
The recipe with which inspired me asked for ham, cut into small strips. I didn’t have ham, which would have been fairly thick, but I did have some very thinly-sliced Speck. I cut it only into segments, which was a mistake: I should have expected that they wouldn’t stay separated; it would have been better to chop the Speck very finely.
Have I said often enough before now that I love anything celery-ish?
- one finely-chopped yellow onion from Tamarack Hollow Farm sautéed for about 5 minutes in 4 tablespoons of melted butter inside an enameled cast iron pot, then set aside while cooking a little more than a pound of cubed celery root, also from Tamarack Hollow Farm, in boiling salted water until very soft, or about 10 minutes, the celeriac drained and added to the pot with the onion and squashed down a bit, a few tablespoons of Trickling Springs local organic milk added and the whole gently warmed through, then mixed with 8 ounces of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnano penne rigate, from Eataly, cooked al dente, around half of a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano Vache Rosse from Eataly mixed in, finished with the chopped green section of a baby leek from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, some chopped parsley from Eataly and scissored chives from Two Guys from Woodbridge, with more cheese sprinkled on the top of each serving once the pasta had been divided into 2 shallow bowls and garnished with some parsley and chive
- the wine was a California (Lodi) white, Poppy Fields Pinot Grigio Lodi 2016, by Ernie Weir, from Naked Wines
- the music was Haydn’s 1773 short comic opera, ‘L’infeledtà Delusa’ (Deceit Outwitted), with Barbara Hendricks, Edith Mathis, Claes H. Ahnsjö, Aldo Baldin, and Michael Devlin, Antal Doráti conducting the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the recording itself from the late 1970s