porchetta, ricotta, wild cress; reginetti, radish, pea shoots

Another weekday meal with a real first course. Well, my reasoning was that because there had been only 12 ounces in the box of good pasta, and I had already used around 8 ounces in another meal, I had only a few ounces left, too few, I thought, to suffice for an entrée, so I would supplement it with a small first course (even a small cheese course at the end, if we would be up to it by then).

And then both courses grew like [Harriet Beecher Stowe’s] Topsy. I had started with simply a great salumi, then I realized I had half of a small container of ricotta in the refrigerator, and of course there would have to be bread, and, while it’s not really an Italian thing, I almost always feel better about a cold plate if I can include a green of some kind.

  • four ounces of Principe Italian uncured roasted porchetta rolled in pancetta from Chelsea Whole Foods Market
  • a few ounces of water buffalo ricotta from Riverine Ranch in the Union Square Greenmarket that I mixed with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, one chopped Windfall Farms baby celery stalk and its leaves, and a bit of olive oil
  • wild cress from Lani’s Farm, drizzled with a little olive oil
  • slices of a whole wheat baguette from Our Daily Bread in the Union Square Greenmarket

The pasta would have remained pretty light if I hadn’t realized that I had a few small radishes that were anxious to be a part of something interesting, perhaps even something cooked, for a change. Also, maybe the topper was the breadcrumbs I added, but when we had finished, a cheese course didn’t tempt us.

  • five 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 and some of the water reserved before it was drained, added to a large high-sided antique copper pot in which 2 cloves of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm and the equivalent of one bunch of small scrubbed, trimmed and halved French breakfast radishes from Eckerton Hill Farm had been heated until softened in a little olive oil, then a pinch of crushed dried hickory-smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet pepper, also from Eckerton Hill, the zest from half of an organic Whole Foods lemon and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, and pepper were introduced to the pot and everything stirred together, some pea shoots from Norwich Meadows Farm mixed in, the pasta arranged in 2 warm shallow bowls, more pea sprouts arranged on top and a little olive oil drizzled around the edges, some toasted homemade breadcrumbs sprinkled over the reginetti itself