Well, I mean, I’ve tasted variations of it but not the specific dish I’m talking about here.
Two years ago when my travel gal pals and I were in Tuscany, we had many memorable meals. Apparently, some more memorable than others. One such meal stuck in Maryann’s head because she hasn’t stopped talking about it. As she recalled, it was over-sized rigatoni stuffed with fish. I must have been at the other end of the table. I didn’t see it, I didn’t taste and I didn’t remember it.
When she mentioned it again recently, I thought “how difficult could it be?” And then I said, “Come on over and I’ll make it“.
“Make-it-up”, I should have said.
The filling: sauteed chopped shrimp, lump crab meat, garlic, ricotta, shredded fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan, black pepper, salt, chopped Italian parsley.
The sauce: a little sauteed onion and garlic, dry seasonings, strained tomato sauce cooked with the shrimp shells and a carrot (both removed after), a little sugar, red chili flakes and white wine.
I love pasta but even more than pasta, I love veggies. Also, I don’t like to eat a rich dinner without something to balance it so I made a multi-veggie antipasto which was served at room temp as a first course.
sauteed brussels sprouts and artichoke hearts dressed with sherry vinegar glaze
tiny ceci beans (from Umbria) cooked with chicken broth, olive oil, the rinds (with a little cheese attached) of a hunk of parmigiano reggiano
raw cauliflower, celery, parsley, black olives, red chili flakes, olive oil, a dash of cider vinegar and a squeeze plus zest of a fresh orange, dry seasonings
sauteed kale, bacon, garlic, roasted yellow tomatoes dressed with a dash of vinegar
… and, of course, toasted, oiled and seasoned Tuscan bread.
Did I recreate that memorable dish?
Probably not, but I think we made a new memory tonight around another memorable meal which we all enjoyed.
In the end that’s what it’s all about … good friends, good food, and wine!