emmer reginetti, shallot, celery, olive, pinoli; buffalo cheese

I’ve found it impossible to serve anything but a delicious meal when I use one of Sfoglini‘s local artisanal pastas.

While they each have great individual flavors of their own, they can also be canvases inviting a cook to be as creative as possible with whatever might be in the kitchen, and sometimes the smallest additions can be the most effective.

These packages (half of a box is enough for an entrée serving 2 people) are also among the easiest and least expensive entrées of any kind to prepare, although, especially with the simplest additions, in smaller portions, they are also perfect as appetizers.

  • eight ounces of Sfoglini emmer reginetti (organic emmer flour, organic durum semolina flour, water), also known as mafaldine, or ‘little queens’, from the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project in the Union Square Greenmarket, cooked barely al dente, some of the water reserved, drained, added to a large high-sided antique copper pot in which a sliced medium Camelot shallot from Quarton Farm and the chopped stem sections of a few small celery stalks from Philipps Farms had been heated in a little olive oil over a medium flame until they had softened and become fragrant, a dozen or so pitted and halved Gaeta olives from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market and a pinch of gorgeous (dried) hickory smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm added, generously seasoned with freshly-ground black pepper, the mix stirred over high heat, along with almost 3 quarters of a cup of reserved pasta water, for a minute or so, or until the liquid had emulsified, some of the roughly-chopped celery leaves mixed in, arranged inside shallow bowls, sprinkled with some lightly-toasted pine nuts, also from Buon Italia, garnished with purple micro radish from Two Guys from Woodbridge, a little olive oil drizzled around the edges

There was a small cheese course with a big cheese.

  • another excellent new cheese from Riverine Ranch: lightly-washed-rind buffalo milk semi soft cheese, without a name, described by Brian, the cheesemaker, as like a Munster or havarti, and in development, which probably means this particular wheel is a one-off
  • thin slices of a great treat from an interesting Philadelphia bakery new to the Union Square Greenmarket, and to us, ‘Table Bread’ from Lost Bread Company