speck, wild dandelion; ravioli ai piselli, shallot, mushrooms

With Tuesday’s dinner I was able to ratchet down the old German kitchen thing that had defined the meal the night before.

Pork, and in fact it was again smoked pork, was the major player in the first course, but this time, while I suppose it was German-ish, or actually, Austrian-ish (read Tirolean), it was an austere, thinly sliced Speck, and not some rich rillettes.

It’s interesting that the wines we enjoyed for both courses were from the same bottles we enjoyed the night before, with a new one opened near the end of the pasta.

  • two ounces of La Quercia’s Ridgetop Speck (applewood smoked prosciutto from pastured pigs)
  • wild dandelion fro Lani’s Farm, dressed with a little olive oil (Badia a Coltibuono, from Gaiole in Chianti, Siena, Italy), sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods Market lemon
  • slices of what really is a great classic Italian (Tuscan?) bread, ‘rustic classic’, or ‘rustico’, from Flatiron Eataly’s bakery
  • the wine with the first course was an amazing, brilliant riesling, an Australian (Victoria/Great Western) white, Best’s ‘Great Western’ Riesling 2017, made by Best’s Wines, from Astor Wines

There was no pork in the main course this time. In fact there was no meat at all; instead there were some mushrooms, almost always a good alternative for enjoying an entrée’s vegetables and wine. There were no complaints.

It was going to be a light spring pasta until I remembered the paper bag with a few ounces of mushrooms sitting in the refrigerator. They had  been there for a few days, and had begun to desiccate on their outer surfaces, making them, as far as I was concerned, even more interesting than they’d normally be.

  • twelve ounces of ravioli ai piselli (a filling of peas, mint, ricotta, pecorino romano from Luca Donofrio‘s fresh pasta shop inside Eataly’s Flatiron store, boiled carefully for only a couple of minutes, or until barely cooked through in a large amount of well-salted water, drained, some of the pasta water retained, the pasta slipped into a large antique high-sided tin-lined copper pot in which a simple sauce had been created, beginning with a tablespoon of melted Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ in which one ‘camelot’ Dutch red shallot from Quarton Farm had been briefly sautéed until softened,

  • followed by 5 ounces of sliced shiitake mushrooms from the Union Square Greenmarket stand of Violet Hill Farm (where Patrick told me they were the first of the season, at least for their farm) had been tossed in, everything stirred over medium to high heat until the  mushrooms had properly cooked, salt, pepper, and spearmint from Stokes Farm added and the pasta arranged inside shallow bowls, micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge arranged as a garnish, finished with a drizzle of olive oil around the edges
  • the wine with the main course was a the remainder of the previous day’s terrific German (Ahr) red, Meyer-Näkel Ahr Spätburgunder Pinot Noir 2014, from Gramercy Wine, and when that had disappeared, there was a California (Lodi) red, Jacqueline Bahue Lodi Cabernet Franc 2017, from Naked Wines