Wednesday Will – Garlic Pasta Sonnet 116

Garlic Pasta Sonnet 116

Garlic Pasta Sonnet 116
“And scorne not Garlicke like to some, that think / It onely makes men winke, and drinke, and stink.” Joannes De Mediolano, The Englishman’s Doctor, 1608

Garlic Pasta has become a motto for the recent revival of simple, good, healthy traditional cuisine. The recipe states right off the bat not to mess with timeless, quality ingredients, “Let me not…Add ingredients.” Here Shakespeare is saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Much of the rest of the recipe disparages the obfuscation of traditional local cuisines by the onslaught of globalization and the trendy, often “tacky” foods thereby resulting.Let me not to spaghetti with garlicAdd ingredients. This plate’s not a plate

That weighs on your gut like a heavy brick

Nor to order or make on a first date,

O no, it is an ever smelly dish

That’s been around for a very long time;

It’s constant, repaying that garlic wish

All Italians appreciate sometimes.

It’s cheap but not tacky, so newer go’s

Like sushi and tapas might limit it,

Yet pasta, ‘olio and aglio’

As a dinner staple will always fit.

If I’m proven wrong, I’ll give you my seat,

I’ve never cooked before, nor did I eat.

The real recipe:
Ingredients per person:
100 grams of pasta
1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
Salt & fresh black pepper
Pecorino and/or Parmigiano 

Boil the pasta, in salty water. Crush the garlic and on low heat in a pan let it flavor the olive oil for a few minutes. Set aside some of the cooking water. Drain the pasta a couple minutes before it’s al dente and transfer it still wet into the pan with the garlic oil. Sauté the whole, adding the cooking water as necessary, to complete the pasta’s cooking. Once done, add freshly grated Parmigiano and/or Pecorino Romano (on low or no flame) and as much freshly grated black pepper as you want. For a twist, add some diced capers on top or make a puree of artichokes or fava beans ecc., below. Plate and eat. Goes well with a simple red or white table wine. Then go out, maybe see a movie, exhale without inhibition and have some fun watching anyone seated near you change their seats after 15 minutes or so. 

link- garlic:

link – a garlic sauce from Will’s days:


Weekend Recipe: The Simplest of Pasta (spaghetti with a Neruda tomato sauce)

Weekend Recipe: The Simplest of Pasta (spaghetti with a Neruda tomato sauce)

‘…the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile…’
Pablo Neruda

10-12 fully ripened cherry tomatoes
6-10 Piccadilly tomatoes
1 sweet red onion
good unsalted butter
honey (medium sweet)
black pepper
bi-carbonate of soda
1 handful of sweet, small leaf basil
180 grams of hard-grain wheat spaghetti
serves 2

The simplest of things… aren’t. Not really. Everything has a depth to it. Things seen or felt, their scent… is only the perceivable end, a pause after a long series of countless interactions, each with its own language. So many languages, so many exchanges in each moment, all that happened before you… reach for it, say, a ripe tomato, note its smoothness, color, weight, bring it toward you as you lean forward and breath in. It seems simple, even the simplest, of actions: identifying a vine-ripened tomato. Yet before that moment…. the specific composition of soil had to be formed, the plant had to grow, the fruit ripen, sunshine and temperature and humidity. Then it had to be harvested, shipped, brought to market – rarely do you find a proper tomato in a chain super market produce bin. You will find them in a local market or farm, in season – unless you’ve done the farming yourself. And you have to have some way to compare, experience or a form of intuition, nose, hands, eyes, all the tomatoes you’ve ever eaten codified as the prediction of what that fruit in your hand will taste like after you’ve done the cooking, tried to exalt its flavor. It’s the tomato that talks to you, yes, but also the soil from which it drew its nutrition, the sun, the weather. Picking a great tomato isn’t new age or anything like that but it is complex, necessarily seasonal if not even ephemeral, and holds not a little mystery. No two tomato sauces can ever be the same.
cherry tomatoes

A similar notion can be repeated for each of the few ingredients in this recipe, the butter, the sweet red onion, the basil, the large spaghetti… if each is chosen with patience and an odd uncertain certainty – the sauce and dish will turn out wonderfully, simple as it is. First, a little early on – remove the skins from both the cherry (a few seconds after if you’ll do them together) and piccadilly tomatoes in the usual way by placing them briefly into boiling water, maybe a minute, maybe two but as soon as they look ready or immediately if any of the skins split, remove into ice-cold water and cool them asap. Once they have, the skins will slide right off. If you have to open a skin or two with a knife, use one with ridges (like a normal serving knife) that penetrate the skins more easily.

Set them aside or do the rough slicing and/or light crushing (with your hands) if you’r ready to prep the meal. Never, if tomato a principle flavor of the dish you’re preparing, use a mechanical blender on tomato. It ruins them, making their flavor hollow and a bit acidic. If you have the time you can pass them through a tomato sieve but that takes a bit and, truth is, the sauce seems to turn out slightly more flavorful without. In any case, set the tomatoes aside – their scent should be delightfully gratifying.

Get to stewing the onion. Red, firm, and slightly sweet the scent, not overwhelming. Take off the outermost peels, trim the stem and beard, and dice it up roughly – the stem with a little more care. Use two if they’re small. Here you can cheat and speed up the making just a little by using a spoon of EV olive oil on medium heat and sauté the onion in a coverable pan until they begin to become translucent. If you want a little more umph to the final sauce, at the very end you can add a quarter of a well diced sweet garlic clove – but be very careful not to brown it. Then add only enough water to coat the bottom of the pan, a few tablespoons, lower the heat once it begins to boil, add a pat of good unsalted butter, mix it up as it melts. Add a dash of salt, a twist of pepper and a couple dashes of sugar, mix, cover and let it gently stew on lowest heat at least 10 minutes. In the meantime place the big pot of salted water on a burner for the spaghetti. Once the onion has wilted completely but before caramelizing, remove the cover and let the excess water evaporate. Once it has, add the peeled tomatoes and raise the heat to medium. By now the water for the pasta should be about to boil. Add 180 grams or so, and choose a solid hard-grained wheat pasta noodle, preferably passed through bronze machines. I use Rummo, a pretty good industrial brand.

Now comes the ‘cook’ part, the adjustments you’ll have to make along the way using your eyes, hands, nose and tongue. After the tomatoes have heated, crush them with a wooden spoon in the pan, add enough salt, pepper, a pinch or two of sugar and bicarbonate of soda, mix well and let the soda do its de-acidification thing. Then taste and adjust and crush again, lower the heat and add a half teaspoon of good honey, medium sweet like sulla or sunflower, mix, taste, adjust again to the flavor balance you’re looking for, then turn off the heat. Now add a small handful of freshly picked, small-leaf roughly sliced sweet basil – use a ceramic knife if you have one or you can use your hands to shred the leaves, and a healthy pat of butter, mix and let the sauce rest for a couple minutes. Taste the pasta noodles for saltiness and adjust them, to, if necessary.

By now the pasta should be about ready to go – al dente. Drain the noodles. Two schools of thought to plate: most of the time sautéing the pasta with the sauce is the natural way to go, letting the flavors penetrate into the noodle but for this one… it’s more a personal choice. Twirling the noodles without mixing leaves the sauce more rich and pure, mixing of course flavors the noodles more but slightly alters the sauce. In any case, you can add a spoonful on the bottom beneath the noodles. Then add another pat of fresh butter on top of the spaghetti, then spoon over the sauce abundantly. Try to do the plating in a hurry to keep the spaghetti from drying or cooling. Lightly heated serving plates also aren’t a bad idea (if you’re making it for 4-5 people or fewer you can place the dishes one at a time on the heated water pot and plate the noodles straight in.) Top off with freshly grated parmigiano or not, to taste.

Serve with an easy red or cool white, and enjoy the sunshine, rich soil and salty breeze and sweetness once you place the first fork in your mouth. Most of all though, those summer tomatoes delicately giving forth all that… cool, magic completeness.

link – how tomatoes ripen:  

Ode To Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda
The street
filled with tomatoes,
light is
its juice
through the streets.
In December,
the tomato
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
into living flesh,
a cool
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
its flag,
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

Friday Music. Old Notes: Lockwood, entropy and consciousness

Old notes: Friday Music. Lockwood, entropy and consciousness


Settimana di 4. In concerto all’Accademia abbiamo sentito una buona interpretazione delle quattro stagioni. Mentre passeggiavo ho visto le quattro fontane (Roma) mentre andavo ad informarmi di una cosa. (Una tassa. Managgia, dovrò pagare 4 anni di arretrati. Che botta.) 4 volte ho preparato e mangiato spaghetti con la bottarga di muggine e fiori di zucca (la prima per essermi sicuro, poi 3 per il gusto.) Ho impaginato, cliccando troppo con la mano destra finche quasi non la sento più, e pubblicato la quarta parte del ‘151 Zattere’.

Didier ho visto suonare solo due volte. Pero la prima volta in dietro le quinte – lui suonava le quattro stagioni per riscaldarsi prima del concerto. (L’autunno.) Dopo il secondo concerto -anni dopo – lui e venuto a mangiare nello stesso ristorante dove mangiavamo noi. (Anche lui ha preso le cozze. Poverino. Non e che c’era tanta scelta. Mi sa che ama il mare, e il secondo concerto ha avuto luogo nel Vallese in Svizzera. Moules e frites.) Così si può dire che l’ho visto in 4 posti diverse. In ambedue i concerti ha suonato questo pezzo, non tra i miei favoriti, ma ha funzionato come intervallo e per altre cose, (tutti e due i concerti erano dedicati a Grapelli, il primo dal vivo, il secondo dopo) ad esempio su come può essere allargato
il concetto di violino come strumento.

Non spiego perche, ma il mio identificare ‘4’ come tema, e imaginando un po’ quello che sta passando per la testa di Ponty mentre suona, mi spinge a pensare un po’ di più una cosa. Non spiego perché, ma mi sa che la coscienza può essere descritta come un’espressione di entropia.

Per la musica, cliccare sotto…



Weekend recipe: Penne with ricotta

Weekend recipe: Penne with ricotta

Ingredients -/+ (per person):

100 grams of penne pasta
120 grams of ricotta, cow or sheep
50 grams of pig cheek or bacon
30 grams of grated ages cheese, a mix of parmesan and pecorino romano or any other you like

It’s late. It’s been a fairly busy day, your girl friend will be getting back about 20 minutes or so after you will, tired and a little stressed at the ongoings of the day. It’s your turn to cook and you really, really don’t feel like prepping a meal. What’s worse: you’re hungry, even ravenous. You want massive, mouth-filling, gut-fulfilling fair in a hurry. Pizza? Burgers? The deli on the corner? Maybe, even though they all sound boring.

   Ok, it isn’t that they actually sound boring. It’s just that your taste buds are looking for something hardy and flavorful. And sound can have a flavor, or vice versa. Pizza: you’re really not in the mood for melted cheese and toppings, that familiar odor of cooked canned tomato, heated cardboard and animal fat mixed with dried herbs. Burgers: or more grilled, too-thin, plain beef patties on wimpy bread. The deli: the deli has more to offer but a sandwich for dinner – though sometimes a pleasurable change of pace – tonight would be strikingly inadequate. So you might want to try an old stand by, something you don’t make that often and so forget just how satisfying it is, kind of like having a burger, pizza and deli sandwich all at the same time.
   Plop some water in the pot as soon as you get in, salt it, then take off your coat, change into a more comfortable pair of shoes, undo your tie if you have one on, use the bathroom if you need to but please do give your hands a good washing before heading back into the kitchen. Now, take out that prosciutto you have leftover in the fridge or freezer. It can be one nice, thick slice but even if it’s been thin-sliced it’ll work just fine. If the meat is in the former condition, slice away thin ribbons and then in turn slice those ribbons into small squares. If it’s the later, stop once you’ve chopped that, instead, into thin ribbons. By now the water is boiling, so shove in some penne, the smooth kind
would work better here but any short pasta will do (dry, not egg pasta).
   You’re hungry, so realistically put in at least 100 grams per person, 200+ for the two of you. Now, take out the leftover ricotta, sheep milk if you have it but the cow milk kind will do as well. The first is more flavorful but less fatty, so make sure that once you’ve put it in a bowl and separated it into several chunks, 100-150 grams per person, take a small cup of boiling salt water from the pasta pot, pour it into the same bowl and mix until you get a sort of really thick paste. If instead it’s the cow kind, grate a tad of nutmeg into the cheese, then add some water but not as much. Now put the prosciutto ribbons or squares into a pan on medium-low heat and let them fry up slowly until good and crispy. You can even get a little stupid and deglaze after a bit with some cognac, but no need to. Anyway.
   Once the pasta is ready don’t drain it well. Plunk it fairly wet into the pan and toss a few seconds with the crispy meat, add some other grated cheese – that is, parmesan – if you must but again there’s no need. Once the noodles are well-flavored transfer them into the bowl with the ricotta paste and mix the whole well. Add a good dose of pepper if it’s to you liking. Your girlfriend will walk through the door, take one wiff and thank Manitu that you’ve made a great smelling, great tasting, fully satisfying dinner, plus one that won’t rest in your stomach like, well, a double-stuffed with sausage or two all beef patties with special sauce. Tomorrow you can have a a corned beef on rye…