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Zuppa di Farro (Farro Soup with Borlotti & Kale)

Another good recipe from the gang at Market Hall Foods.

+ makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 pound of thick pancetta or bacon, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh tomatoes or 3 canned tomatoes, chopped
fresh herbs like sage or rosemary
1 cup Canestrini
6 - 8 leaves of kale, rolled and sliced into thin strips
salt & pepper, to taste
grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste

Drain the soaked beans and put in a pot and cover by a few inches with fresh water. At this point, you could add a ham hock or piece of prosciutto, if you have it. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the beans for about 30 - 40 minutes until just cooked. Drain and set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the pancetta and aromatics for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes and herbs and season with salt & pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Add 4 cups of water and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the farro and stir to combine, cooking over a simmer.

After 20 minutes, add the sliced kale and more water, if necessary. Cook for 15 more minutes, or until the farro is cooked. Check for seasoning. Add the beans to the pot and stir to combine. Serve with a drizzle of fresh extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Reggiano.   

BLACK PIG Bacon & Asparagus Carbonara 

 Bacon from Black Pig Meat Company is dry cured with brown sugar for up to 21 days and then finished with applewood smoking for about 12 hours. We love this Bacon… off the vine good!

Quality bacon makes or breaks this dish! Carbonara gets its name from carbon, that is the fresh black pepper in the dish.

Serves 4 to 6

for the pasta:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a bowl, combine flour, eggs, and oil. Knead, wrap in plastic and let rest at least 1/2 hour. Roll out in pasta machine three times at each setting folding it each time (this gives it the tooth). Bring to desired thickness (depends on machine, usually 2 notches above the thinnest setting). At the desired thickness, roll it through twice without any folding (that sets the thickness) and cut with tagliatelle cutter.

6 slices quality bacon, cut in lardons
1 bunch (pencil thin) asparagus, cut into 3/4 inch lengths on the bias
4 eggs, whisked 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a saute pan on medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 4 minutes. Cook the pasta until done, about 4 minutes. Half way through the cooking add the asparagus. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the eggs with the parmesan, salt and pepper.

Strain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce. Add the hot pasta and asparagus, some of its water, and the hot bacon and its rendered fat to the egg and cheese. With tongs toss and add pasta water to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It is important that the pasta and the bacon be hot because they are cooking the egg and thickening the sauce and its also important to work quickly so you don’t overcook the eggs or they will scramble. Plate up into pasta bowls and garnish with more parmesan cheese.

- this recipe is brought to by the great folk’s at Black Pig Meat Co. 


Getting started with Molecular gastronomy...

By: Valerie Brockbank  I’ve been a recent convert to molecular gastronomy, where science meets cooking. I have eaten dishes combined with algin, calcic, eines, xantana – yum! I sat in on a cooking demonstration by Chef Woojay Poynter, who has worked at Alinea in Chicago, and now teaches in Portland and Coos Bay, Ore. He produced a sou vide salmon, spherification for “dill caviar”, herb foams and CO 2 grapes. “Molecular gastronomy shouldn’t represent a type of cuisine that only certain chefs can do,” Poynter said. “Understanding what the cooking process does to your food, hopefully, can make everyone a better cook.” Well, I’m planning on experimenting with Merlot Caviar, CO 2 muscat grapes, and powderized brie. I bought a texturizing kit at the show that has twelve little containers of gastronomy magic.

Woojay Poynter’s Dill Caviar

5 grams sodium alginate

4 grams calcium lactate

4 oz fresh dill

1 tbs sugar

1/4 tsp salt

In a blender, blend sodium alginate and 500 grams of water until solution has thickened. Allow to sit for a few hours.

Blanch dill in boiling water for 5 seconds and place in ice water. Drain well and chop coarsely.

In a blender, blend chopped dill, 100 grams water and remaining ingredients until dill is liquified. Check seasonings and strain.

Using a dropper or pipette, drop the dill liquid into the sodium alginate bath to form dill caviar of desired size. Leave in bath from 30 seconds to 1 min (skin will get thicker the longer you leave the caviar spheres in the bath). Rinse carefully under cold water and serve. For larger spheres, freeze dill liquid in ball-shaped ice cube tray, then put frozen balls into sodium alginate bath until liquid defrosts. Rinse and serve.