finocchiona, arugula; chitarra, garlic, chili, anchovy, parsley

It was a return to a pretty simple, pretty authentically (mostly southern) Italian meal last night, something that has been missing from our table for a while. No fancy extras anywhere in sight.

I knew it would be a pasta night, sitting between fish and meat-dominated dinners, and I had decided to include a first course of some form of salumi. and Barry suggested something really simple to follow it. What we came up with could have been more simple, but could hardly have been more Italian.

We began with an antipasto that was entirely local, except for the olive oil and the black pepper.

  • two ounces, thinly sliced, of a luscious local finocchiona-style sausage, ‘Finochiona’ (pork, salt, red wine, spices, garlic, evaporated cane juice, celer extract, lactic acid starter culture) from Rico and Jill of Walnut Hill Farm in Pawlet, Rutland County, Vermont, which now sells at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays (the sausage is made in collaboration with Jacuterie, an artisanal charcuterie company south of them, in Ancramdale, Columbia County, New York
  • handfuls of baby arugula from TransGenerational Farm, dressed with good olive oil, Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (a Koroneiki varietal), Hania, from Crete, purchased at the Chelsea Whole Foods Market, a bit of white balsamic vinegar, local sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • slices of some extraordinary bread, ‘Homadama’ (wheat , corn, water, maple syrup, salt, slaked lime), from Lost Bread Co.

  • nine ounces of Afeltra spaghetti chitarra from Eataly Flatiron, boiled, but only until still pretty firmly al dente, then tossed with a sauce made of 2 large plump and still a bit juicy ‘Nootka rose’ garlic cloves from TransGenerational Farm, roughly chopped, cooked in less than a quarter of a cup of olive oil over low-to-medium heat until softened and only beginning to brown, after which 2 well-rinsed salted Sicilian anchovies from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market were mashed into the oil and a very judicial pinch of crushed dried and quite hot ‘Diavvoletti Rossi’ Calabresi peperoncino secchia from Buon Italia added, along with several tablespoons of chopped parsley from Phillips Farms, and a few tablespoons of the pasta water, everything simmered for a few minutes, reducing the liquid slightly, and once the pasta was added to the pot, the heat turned up slightly and the entire mix stirred together for a couple of minutes, or until the pasta was done to taste and most of the liquid emulsified, when it was placed in shallow bowls and sprinkled with another few tablespoons of parsley
  • the wine was an Italian (Tuscany/Maremma) white, Santa Margherita Vermentino 2017, from Philippe Wines
  • the music was an album of works for small ensembles by Leopold Anton Kozeluch, performed by Consortium Classicum