New Pasta Dish, but No Food Photos

Sometimes I get so absorbed in whatever I am cooking that I forget (or don’t have time) to take any photos.  This was pretty much the case last night at dinner.

Things started simply enough.  I was inspired by a delightfully spare suggestion from Alice Waters’ cookbook, Chez Panisse Vegetables.  Here was the entry:

“I can do that,” I thought.  We have zucchini, I just bought a case (24 1-lb. bags) of organic walnuts from California, and we now have some Genovese pesto from Gustiamo.  Seems like a win all around, but it will take time to make the fresh pasta.  No worries.  I have time.  And flour, appropriate pasta flour.  Let’s go!

Of course, when I have time, I tend to think about options — to make the best dish I can, with what’s available.  That’s when things get a little more complicated.  I’m always conscious of what’s in the refrigerator that may need to be used before it spoils.  A small graffiti eggplant was in the category, so I decided to consider that.  Also, since walnuts don’t appear in too many recipes with eggplant, I decided to do more research in my cookbook collection.  Viana LaPlace’s book, Verdura, popped up with a recipe that included both — Fresh Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato, Ricotta and Walnuts.  That intrigued me, but alas, we had no Ricotta.  Hmmm, what to do?

How about making a dish that combines ideas from each of these?  Instead of ricotta, I had a small bowl of whipped feta cheese I made a few days earlier.  That would go nicely.  And we had only one small plum tomato, and I liked the idea of the julienned zucchini, so I made Fresh Pasta with Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomato, Whipped Feta Cheese, and Walnuts.

My fresh pasta was made from 100 g ’00’ flour plus 100 g Maiorca flour, plus 2 extra large eggs, a little salt, and a glug or two of Sicilian olive oil.  The rest of the steps:

  • julienne the zucchini on a mandoline
  • dice the eggplant
  • salt the vegetables for 1/2 hour, then wipe dry (multiple paper towels), and sauté separately, then keep warm in a 200˚ F. oven
  • peel and finely dice the plum tomato
  • toast the walnuts in a cast iron skillet, cool completely, then chop coarsely
  • grate the Parmesan cheese and take the whipped feta cheese out of the refrigerator
  • cook the pasta, drain, and save 2 cups of pasta water
  • place the feta cheese at the bottom of a warmed serving bowl, add some of the pasta water, then add the cooked pasta, zucchini, eggplant, chopped tomato, and the walnuts
  • mix everything together well and serve in big pasta bowls
  • pour a glass of Masseria del Pino Nerello Mascalese

The only food photo is the uncooked tagliatelle, since I used 2/3 of the recipe for the meal.

This entry was posted in Almost-Vegan, Food, Vegetarian, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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