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:
- 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.
- 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 sautÃ©ed shallots and Madeira.
- 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):
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.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- 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; sautÃ© 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.
- 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.
- 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!