Homemade, Fresh, Campania
The title is one of my philosophies of life. And it explains why I chose to make fresh pasta with vegetables in the style (and wine) of Campania for dinner one night and a different dish with packaged pasta from Sardinia for lunch the next day.
Making fresh pasta has become easy and satisfying, so I do it as often as possible. The elements are the same: 100 g. specialty flour, one large or extra large egg, a good pinch of salt, and 1-2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil. This is the perfect amount for the two of us.
Variety is introduced two ways — the shape of the pasta and the accompanying sauce. I do fool around a bit with the flour combinations, but those changes are subtle. On this particular night, I chose to combine 50 g. Molino Grassi “00” soft wheat pasta flour with 50 g. of Gustiamo’s Rimacinata Cuore flour. The taste, texture, and dough “feel” was just right.
My hand-cranked pasta machine has three different attachments for cutting the pasta sheets I roll out into three shapes: spaghetti, tagliatelle, and fettuccine. Since my sauce was made of chunky southern Italian vegetables (zucchini, Japanese eggplant, and San Marzano tomatoes), I initially thought that spaghetti would work nicely. However, after cutting the first half of the dough, I decided the spaghetti was a bit too fine for our taste, so I did the second half as fettuccine. The combination was a testament to free thinking.
It all came together (vegetables, pasta, pasta cooking water, Barbara’s homemade breadcrumbs, and grated Pecorino) very nicely. Remembering that San Marzano tomatoes are from that region, I chose a Mastroberardino Irpinia Aglianico for the wine. Molto bene!
Packaged, Dry, Sardinia
I had been reviewing some old photographic files of previous food triumphs, and I came across this one, and the recipe I originally used to make the dish. These renewed my interest in the iconic Sardinian pasta — known variously as fregola, fregula, or fregole.
I was in the mood for pasta for lunch; we had Taggiasca olives in the refrigerator; and I recalled a leftover half-package of the dried Fregula from sometime in the last decade, hiding in the bottom of our pasta drawer in the kitchen. The rest was easy, and lunch was good. The Aglianico worked well with this dish, too.