Most often my daytime menu is driven by two forces in the kitchen:
- available ingredients
- desired cookware
Today’s Sunday lunch was a good example. It started with a relatively new cast iron skillet I purchased recently from Food52 and was eager to try it out. It was made by the Smithey Ironware Company of Charleston, SC, and it seems to be a fine example of American artisans at their best.
I’ve been cooking all weekend, so I was not desperate to use a bunch of items. I did, however, have a nice, small Italian eggplant that warranted attention, and some leftover fennel, vegan sausage, and white beans I should use up. Furthermore, it’s been DAYS since I had pasta, so the path was clear:
- sautée cubes of eggplant until tender, then remove
- sautée sliced onion, garlic and fennel together
- add sausage slices and white beans to the pan, and cook until blended
- add the eggplant back into pan, plus salt and pepper
- boil a single portion of linguini (135 gm)
- mix it all together with some pasta water, 1 tsp of whole-grained Dijon mustard, and grated Calabrian Pecorino
- serve in a big pasta bowl.
As I surveyed the scene it felt much like a dish from northeastern Italy — almost to Austria, except there the sausage would be pork, and the vegetables would include cabbage. Fortunately, I remembered that I had a bottle of 2009 Lagrein in the cellar, purchased locally from importer Jeannie Rogers (Adonna Imports) about 7 years ago. It was a perfect match, and a great way to spend 1/2 hour in the Südtirol for lunch.