I have some catching up to do here. About three months’ worth. Forget chronological order. When you get this far behind, it does not matter. So I’ll begin with the most recent, with a few meals this past week.
Barbara got us started with a wonderful and simple dinner — soft polenta, topped with zucchini and eggplant in tomato sauce. It was perfect for one of these cool Spring evenings.
The next night it was my turn. Pasta, of course. I found a small package (250 gm.) of Gargagnelli from Abruzzo, for which I made a Ligurian-style vegetable sauce with zucchini, carrots, leeks, peas, and Pecorino cheese. It was a flavorful as it was colorful.
The wine was a luscious Sangiovese, 2016 Rosso Della Torre by La Sabbiona, one of Nick Mucci’s growers from Emilia Romagna. In fact, a few nights before I had met the winemaker at a tasting in Cambridge, featuring 7 of the families whose wine Nick imports.
Finally, I can share both lunch and dinner today. I had cooked two batches of dried beans a few days ago; Borlotti from Gustiamo, and Caballero from Rancho Gordo. These had been part of several dishes already (especially the white bean purée with the Caballeros), and it was time to finish the rest. The solution was a Bean Salad, with many of my favorite ingredients, including leftovers that needed to be consumed soon. Among the ingredients:
- Caballero and Borlotti beans, cooked
- raw red onion, chopped
- Daikon radish, medium cubes
- celery, thin-sliced
- chopped mushrooms, marinated previously in olive oil and lemon juice
- chopped cherry tomatoes
- sautéed sweet peppers, small chunks
- Piparras pickled peppers, sliced
- thinly-sliced Castelfranco Radicchio
- red wine vinegar from Portugal
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
These get dumped into a a stainless bowl and tossed together. The interchange of all the flavors over the next 15 minutes results in a great dish for lunch.
Dinner tonight was built on dinner last night, plus another recipe from Antipasti, by Julia Della Croce. Each Spring our town library holds a huge used book sale, with contributions from all over town. Barbara is an active supporter of Friends of the Library, and she spends many hours helping to sort the incoming books. We bought Antipasti, after a sorting session on Sunday.
In keeping with our recent Emilian theme of Italian food and wine, Barbara had cooked a Swiss Chard and Spinach Pie for dinner the previous night, and we shared some of the leftovers tonight. To that, I added a variation of another recipe from the book, Zucchini and Eggplant Rolls, stuffed with Almond Milk Ricotta whipped with chopped grilled Vidalia onion, and a little tomato sauce. The wine was Tollara, also from Emilia Romagna, a white wine I have shared with you before, from Malvasia di Candia grapes.