pasta, spring garlic, chili, beet green, ramp, lemon, crumbs

Because the spring beetroot themselves were still so small, I had bought 2 bunches of gorgeous chioggia beets on Friday rather than just one. That meant that I ended up  with 7 small beets, but an enormous collection of their leaves. Last night I placed more than half of those greens on an altar adorned with some very good pasta.

Under no circumstances should you discard any greens brought home from the market, regardless of the identity of the vegetable: They’re at least as exciting as the roots themselves, and they may be even more nutricious.  I would say this is especially true in the case of turnips and beets.

Normally I would have begun this dish by heating some garlic cloves, but last night I had some spring garlic in the kitchen, and that’s what went into the pot.

  • 500 grams (8+ ounces) of Rigorosa di Gragnano Penne Rigate from Eataly, boiled until barely al dente, drained, some of the liquid reserved,   tossed into a large enameled cast iron pot in which three spring garlic bulbs from Lani’s farm, thinly sliced, placed, along with much of one crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, had been allowed to soften and begin to become fragrant, the pasta and sauce joined by roughly-chopped beet greens which had been cut off from most of 2 bunches of chioggia beets from Norwich Meadows Farm, the mix braised over medium heat until the greens had wilted, the zest and the juice of half of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island added along with some reserved pasta water, the pasta stirred until the sauce had emulsified, before some roughly-chopped ramp leaves from Berried Treasures were tossed into the mix, which was then seasoned with sea salt, divided into 2 shallow bowls, and some olive oil added around the edges, finally topped with homemade breadcrumbs which had been browned in a little olive oil along with a pinch of salt
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo 2014, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was Carson Kievman: ‘The Temporary & Tentative Extended Piano’