Fettucine with cannellini and arugula; caprese – 14 August 2012

Another in a series of meals designed to use up a pound of arugula! The Pasta Bible has a cannellini and arugula pasta, and this is largely but not completely based on that. It was ok but not great, which is actually what I thought of the PB version when I made it according to the directions. The pasta is meatless – the salad has anchovies so is not vegetarian.

I cooked 1 cup of cannellini in a modified-Bertolli method: sort, wash, bring to a boil in water to cover by a couple of inches, boil a minute or two, soak at least an hour. Drain, rinse 2x, add 3 1/2 cups water, 3/4 tsp salt, and a bouquet. My bouquet was sage and thyme – a rather substantial amount of each. Cook till done (some beans) or almost done (other beans). After 1 1/2 hours I turned off the heat, covered, and just let the beans cool in their cooking water. I took 1/4 cup of beans and mashed them in a mortar, and added perhaps 1/8 cup bean cooking water. By the time I got around to reheating them for dinner, they were dried out, so I added pasta cooking water, but I think I should have added more. I started putting the “sauce” together by finely chopping maybe 1/3 of a medium red onion and cooking in oil till it was significantly softened, then adding the bean mash and water and cooking a bit. After that is when it dried out. Note that the beans were perfectly salted but the final dish was not, so adding salt to the bean mash might be in order.

I cooked about 6 oz fettucine – long noodles, which I broke into quarters, a good size. I need to start believing that 2 oz/serving is really enough! These were large servings. I drained the pasta, using the water to heat the bowls as usual, added the bean paste and tossed till it was well distributed, then added about 3/8 cup of whole beans. This is where some pasta water might have been a good idea. I served this into the bowls, added a large handful of wild baby arugula to each serving, and gently and carefully tossed it into the pasta a bit. Remembered the parmaggiano and brought it to the table with carrot peeler, and D peeled bits over the top. Also, he suggested peppering the servings, which was a great idea (he likes the way pepper looks, too 🙂 )

Caprese: I bought, at the Bowl, some of that odd, brineless “fresh mozzarella” that I use for the eggplant sandwiches where the eggplant is the “bread” – Galbani “Mozzarella Fresca”. This was to try on the pizza I’m going to make tomorrow or sometime soon (to use up more arugula!). I decided to see if it would be noticeably different in a caprese, and it was – it’s gummier for one thing, and the taste is not as inviting. I bought new Dirty Girl Produce dry-farmed early girls at the Berkeley farmers’ market today, and we had the one left from last week and two new ones with the salad, a lot of torn basil (from Dirty Girl last week – has roots and is happy) and one anchovy fillet from a brand new box. We get these from Costco in packs of 5 or 6 boxes.

D chose a wine we got at Vino, and it was great! Only $9.95. Maiana Salice Salentino 2006, Leone de Castris. It says “Vitivinicoltori cal 1665”. Ok, I’m impressed 🙂

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