mushroom ravioli, alliums, olive, peppers, pinoli, 2 fennels

To me, these meals in which I use fresh pasta, usually a filled form, always seem like they come pre-assembled, and yet they also offer huge opportunities for customization, working with both necessity and whim.

Last night the necessity was that I had very little time to put something together once I got back from Whole Foods Market where I’d picked up some staples, so I eliminated some of what I had expected to include in the dish. And yet there was also room for whim: Before I was done throwing the entrée together I ended up introducing several ingredients I fancied, although they hadn’t been a part of any plan.

The dish was earthy, fully redolent of the autumn which had not yet actually arrived.

  • Rana mushroom-filled ravioli from Eataly, quickly boiled, drained and transferred to a heavy broad tin-lined copper pan in which a small amount of sliced Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, a tiny chopped section of a small Calabrian medium hot cherry pepper from Alewife Farm, a bit of a dried dark habanada pepper, and one small sliced shallot from Paffenroth Farms had been briefly sautéed (warmed, basically) in olive oil, after which some sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a dozen or so pitted Gaeta olives from Buon Italia, and some fennel buds were added, and, with a bit of pasta water, the liquids heated over a moderate flame and  emulsified, the contents of the pot placed in shallow bowls, finished with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts, and a scattering of micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) red, Jacqueline Bahue Cabernet Franc Lodi 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Tchaikovsky’s ‘Manfred Symphony’, in a performance which is a part of the Tchaikovsky Project Vol. 2, Semyon Bychkov conducting the Czech Philharmonic