pasta, radicchio, feta, garlic, parsley, lovage, breadcrumbs

It was a splendid meal, and extremely satisfying. Barry really loved it. I’m thinking of referring to it in the future as ‘the little magic meal’, since, aside from its other charms, it also betrays physical hints of the original.

Everything came together beautifully, and surprisingly easily.

My idea was to use some of my stock of 4 heads of radicchio (It had felt like I’d been hoarding these treasures) but doing something fairly simple with it. A search of this blog didn’t give me any ideas, because I’d only used small amounts of radicchio in pasta dishes until now.

I found good prospects on 2 other sites, and they turned out to be basically the same recipe, the main variable being the livestock sort from which the cheese, one of the principal ingredients, originated. I ended up cribbing most of both, while copying out my own, third version. The Result?  ‘Spaghetti with Radicchio and Ricotta’/’Spaghetti with Radicchio and Chevre’ became ‘Rigatoni with Radicchio and Feta’.

  • little more than one tablespoon olive oil poured into a medium size antique copper pot and heated over a medium flame before adding 2 minced spring garlic cloves from Michisk’s Farm in Flemington, N.J. and cooking them until soft but not browned, adding a fourth of a cup of mixed finely chopped fresh parsley from Phillips Farms and lovage from Keith’s Farm, and 1/4 of a cup homemade breadcrumbs, stirring frequently until breadcrumbs were golden, or about 3 minutes, the mix allowed to rest while the basic sauce itself was being assembled with 8 or 9 ounces Setaro Torre Annunziata Napoli Penne Rigatoni from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, cooked al dente and drained, the hot pasta transferred to a large bowl, where it was followed immediately by 4 ounces of a crumbled feta from from Lynnhaven Dairy Goat Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, the mix tossed gently to melt the cheese, much of a cup of reserved warm pasta water added gradually until the rigatoni was accompanied by a liquid of a good sauce consistency, being careful not to add too much water, then mixing in one and a half small heads of variegata radicchio di lusia from Eckerton Hill Farm, quartered top to bottom and thinly sliced crosswise, and half of the breadcrumb mixture, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, the contents of the bowl now gently tossed to coat in the sauce evenly, the pasta transferred to shallow bowls and sprinkled with the remaining breadcrumb mixture [NOTE: depending on how dry it may be when placed inside the bowls, a little olive oil drizzled around the edge might not be out of line; also noting that I had also intended to sprinkle on some onion blossoms (mostly because I had them), but I forgot, and, as it turned out, I think it would have been like gilding a lily]
  • the wine, ordered directly from the winery, was an Oregon (Williamette Valley) white, Erath Oregon Pinot Gris 2016
  • the music was Johann David Heinichen’s 1720 opera, ‘Flavio Crispo’ [tragically, while today we can appreciate its great beauty, the world had to wait 300 years, and for the Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra, Il Gusto Barocco, to learn this (the ensemble resurrected it and premiered it in 2016), because of the slightly outrageous circumstances of its stillbirth: the opera was never performed in its own time, or in the 3 centuries after, “due to an incident”)