Saturday 27 January 2007

Ravioli of Pear and Parmesan....

A beautiful morning. The bad weather has passed, and we now have a clear blue sky and brilliant sunshine. Bitingly cold though - not a day to linger outside any longer than necessary, and I'm relieved to have got the necessary garden labours already out of the way: planting thyme around the edges of the lavender beds, so that it should spread, and hopefully seed itself between the old red bricks of the pathways in the course of the summer.

Town was busy - it always is on a Saturday morning, with a slight undercurrent of panic that starvation is in sight during a shop-less Sunday, and disaster inevitable unless the households can all provision sufficiently to last through until Monday. If you don't want to spend the entire morning stuck in endless queues in a variety of shops, it's advisable to be out and at it early - and any idea that you might saunter in a leisurely way into the fishmongers any later than 9.30 and expect to find anything worth having is completely laughable.

The wonderful Pasta man on the corner of Vettovaglie - the old square - is, frustratingly, closed for the next couple of weeks. I hope it's nothing more sinister than a short holiday, as he closed for his summer break last year in the middle of July, and then didn't reopen agan until October. Apparently, he's keen to sell the place - which would be nothing short of a disaster! His black ravioli with Sea Bass stuffing defies description, as do his Casarecci (semi-circular ravioli, with a stuffing of ground pork and veal and, I think, a variety of spices). Instead, I went to the fresh pasta place in Borgo Largo, where I was astonished to find ravioli with parmesan and pears. I've only ever had them once before, at Boscaiola in the middle of the woods outside Radicondoli, and I've always assumed they were an eccentricity of the house, rather than a classic. I certainly didn't expect to fall over them in our second-best Pasticceria....Delicate in flavour, they are delicious dressed just in melted butter. I snaffled some up immediately! In this household, at least, starvation has again been successfully averted, and we may yet make it through to Monday.....

Today's Menu:

Tarts of Aubergine and Parmesan.

Triglie alla Maremmana (See recipe, below - another one for the list of fish and meat combinations), served with braised Fennel.

Frozen Hazelnut Zabaglione, with Chocolate Sauce.

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