giovedì 25 ottobre 2012

"Improvised" Pasta

(Per la versione italiana, vedi il precedente post.)
This recipe took its inspiration from two dear foodbloggers. With Laura Tulimiero (Matematica e Cucina) I was chatting about couscous. Then I couldn’t get middle eastern cuisine out of my head. And Sara Drilli (I Pi@ttini di Drilli) always gives me the confidence to improvise in the kitchen.

I imagined something with ground chick peas, something a little bit sweet and sour. Inspired by these two magnificent ladies, I improvised this little recipe — nothing "authentic", it's not a "middle eastern dish," only an improvisation with a little Mediterranean spirit.
1/2 lb pasta (I used Divella Penne Mezzani Rigate, no. 23)
extra-virgin olive oil
24 oz. whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
16 oz. chick peas
2 cloves garlic
1 chili pepper (green or red), between 2 and 3 inches in length
homemade wine vinegar (red or white) — or, 50% commercial wine vinegar (red or white) + 50% wine of the same color
a few raisins
garden oregano
garden basil
garden parsley
pecorino romano

Purée the tomatoes, chick peas, garlic, chili pepper, vinegar, and raisins in the blender. Heat the oil in a frying pan; when it's hot, add the puréed ingredients to the pan. While it's cooking, if necessary, add a little water from the pasta to the sauce, a little bit at a time.

Towards the end, add the garden herbs. (Alas, due to the Boston climate, the basil is no more. That which you see in the photo comes from my freezer.) The oregano is very important here. It's called "hot & spicy," a strain of origanum vulgare hirtum (similar to Italian or Greek oregano).

The cheese must have some "bite" and must be from the South of Italy, like pecorino. Absolutely do not use parmesan or any other cheese from the North.

Homemade Vinegar

When you open a bottle of wine and drink most of it, but there's a little bit left over, pour the leftover wine in a bottle of wine vinegar of the same color. Keep doing that. You can learn how to make homemade vinegar here.


Here in America, excellent pasta does exist. De Cecco is very popular. You can find it in most supermarkets (at least here in Massachusetts). Dal Verde is equally common, and it's rather good. But in my opinion, Divella is superior. It is a stupendous pasta. And you absolutely cannot find it in supermarkets. But now that I live 20 miles west of Boston, I found a magnificent store. It's called Tutto Italiano. It's located in Wellesley Square. They have practically an entire wall of Divella pasta! This splendid store is one of the jewels of the western suburbs of Boston.

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