Another good food night...

It was a drea­ry, rainy day today (I bet­ter get used to those!). We did get over to Granville Island today because Thurs­day is the best day to see the farm­ers and get the fresh­est pro­duce of the week. We got a cou­ple of spe­cial things that made all the dif­fer­ence:

  1. Fresh Hazel­nuts. We roast­ed them and added them to a Cel­ery Root Remoulade along with some grat­ed pear. Even though it was some work shelling and roast­ing the nuts, it was well worth it. We still have about half a bag left, for a treat lat­er in the week.
  2. Kala­ma­ta Olives and Grape Toma­toes. Added those to the green beans. One of my 2 or 3 favorite ways of mak­ing green beans, the oth­er 2 being with lemon peel and chopped pars­ley or with sautéed shal­lots and Madeira.
  3. Ground Turkey meat from the Turkey Farm ven­dor. I’ve got­ten this before. It is with­out a doubt the best ground turkey I’ve ever tast­ed. No bland pink stand-in for ground beef. This stuff is one of the best bar­gains on Granville Island! I made the Turkey Meat­loaf from Joy of Cook­ing, which is actu­al­ly fine recipe, with grat­ed parme­san, chopped basil and pars­ley and toma­to paste. Who knew that turkey meat-loaf is some­thing to look for­ward to?

Also got for tomor­row some excel­lent pancetta (Ital­ian cured bacon) and some fresh lin­guine. I’m going to make Pas­ta all’ Ama­tri­ciana, one of my old favorites. It’s bold, brash food from the town of Ama­trice, a town just out­side Rome, but it’s become some­what of a clas­sic (like Car­bonara or Alfre­do). In fact, here’s the recipe from the Ital­ian Clas­sics cook­book (from America’s Test Kitchens):
Ingre­di­ents:
2 table­spoons extra-vir­gin olive oil
1 medi­um onion, chopped fine
2 1/2 cups of canned diced toma­toes, with juice and salt (Muir Glen Organ­ic are very good if you can get them).
6 ounces of pancetta, chopped into bite-sized morsels (about 1/4 inch wide, 1 inch long)
dried hot pep­per flakes (they call for 1/2 tea­spoon, I use clos­er to 1/8 — don’t need that much heat).
1/3 cup grat­ed pecori­no cheese
The tra­di­tion­al ver­sion of this dish is to have the sauce on some buca­ti­ni (drink­ing straw-shaped mac­a­roni) but I find it works fine on any sim­ple pas­ta like spaghet­ti, lin­guine or fet­tucine. Fresh stuff is fan­tas­tic with it; the tex­ture is sub­lime.

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  2. Mean­while, heat the oil in a large skil­let until shim­mer­ing but not smok­ing. Add the pancetta and cook, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly , until light­ly browned and crisp, about 8 min­utes. Trans­fer the pancetta with a slot­ted spoon to a paper tow­el-lined plate; set aside. Drain all by 2 table­spoons fat from the skil­let. Add the onion to the skil­let; sauté over medi­um heat until soft­ened, about 5 min­utes. Add the hot red pep­per flakes and cook to release their fla­vor, about 30 sec­onds. Stir in the toma­toes and salt to taste; sim­mer until slight­ly thick­ened, about 10 min­utes.
  3. While the sauce is sim­mer­ing, add 1 table­spoon salt and the pas­ta to the water and cook until al dente; Drain and return the pas­ta to the emp­ty pot.
  4. Add the pancetta to the toma­to sauce and adjust the sea­son­ings, if nec­es­sary. Add the sauce to the pot and toss over low heat to com­bine (we often just spoon it over the pas­ta on the plate). Top with the pecori­no cheese (toss if you pre­fer). Serve imme­di­ate­ly.

I love the com­bi­na­tion of the salti­ness of the pork, the tang of the toma­toes, and the bit of heat from the pep­per flakes. It goes extreme­ly well with red wine and crusty bread. Man­gia!