15 February 2006

Yellow flowers from Antonio; Pasta with Winter Greens~

Valentine's morning brought Antonio to the door, just as the coffee was coming up and with me still in pjs, he handed me these yellow orchids and this hollow dark chocolate heart (from my favorite chocolate maker Frangipane) which contains inside it little chocolate hearts and truffles! I was actually very surprised (probably since I hadn't had my coffee yet) because A usually calls me if he is going to come by in the morning--so I can make him a coffee! The chocolates are a real treat, I think they are the best quality in the city...

This morning I got up around 4:30 am, not having slept well last night. I was feeling puffy and confused so I took action: after A left at 5:30 I put fresh sheets on our bed, threw open the windows in our apartment, showered and washed my hair, and then finally prepared a sustaining breakfast of coffee, yogurt, a ripe pear and some country bread spread with butter and homemade marmalade...as you can imagine, I'm feeling much better now! Today's plans are: "au marche" or food shopping, cooking a squash risotto for lunch, planning an English tutorial session that I have later on tonight, and maybe studying some Italian future tense for my class next week!

I've added a new link for Carlo Middione's shop in San Francisco--if you can get your hands on a copy of his book La Vera Cucina you won't regret it, it contains many rustic and authentic Italian (especially southern) dishes that are easily made by the home cook.

These things said, I would like to record this recipe I've come up with to combine winter greens with pasta--it's very tasty and easy, and it makes a good first course followed by fish or eggs or cheese.

Fusilli with Winter Greens
~easily serves 4 as a first course

~dry unseasoned bread crumbs (we get them fresh from the Italian butcher shop)


~1- 2 bunches rapini or swiss chard

~salt, fresh ground black pepper, red chili flakes

~500 grams of fusilli pasta (like Barilla or De Cecco)

~extra virgin olive oil

~ripe black olives

1. Toast about 1.5 or 2 cups of bread crumbs in a non stick pan over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper until browned 2. Bring a small amount of salted water to a boil, and steam/boil the washed and roughly chopped greens for a few minutes, throwing any tough stems into the pot first 3. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta 4. Drain the greens 5. Heat a good amount of oil in a deep saute pan, put a few red chili flakes and some large slices of garlic in the pan 6. Remove the garlic slices once golden and add the greens, cooking on medium high for a few minutes, adding some olives near the end 7. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain, preserving some pasta water 7. Add the bread crumbs to the greens and mix well, then add the pasta and mix again 8. Add pasta water (if needed) and some olive oil and pepper to taste 9. Serve hot and pass some grana or parmigiano at the table to grate on top 10. Don't forget the wine!


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