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Feb 15, 2022
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WINE WITH…Spaghetti Pure & Simple

I find myself  gravitating towards simpler food, fewer meat-oriented menus, and in general focusing more on simplicity rather than complexity.  Simple pasta, for example, is something I’ve been craving recently.

I know, I know—pasta preparations aren’t usually categorized as the type of exciting foods one might crave.  And to be clear, I don’t want traditionally rich and heavy pasta dishes such as Bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs, or lasagna.  Nor am I interested at this moment in “pasta” made from chickpeas, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower, and such.  I’ve tasted a fair number of these -- which have mostly been pretty good -- but that’s not what I desire now.  Nor am I in the mood for spiralized vegetables such as squash or sweet potatoes.  No, none of these options appeal. What my palate longs for instead is simple, spaghetti-type pasta, but I want the noodles to be sauced with nothing more, really, than a drizzle of olive oil.  Perhaps I’ll garnish this simple dish with something raw, and green, and crunchy.

Since this will be a somewhat delicate dish in both flavor and texture, I’ll forsake classic spaghetti noodles in favor of a thinner more delicate pasta -- linguine perhaps, or maybe vermicelli.  Capellini -- the kind of pasta often sold coiled into separate nests because it so fragile -- might be a little too delicate for this dish.  Wait, I think I’ve got it!  What I’ll go with is Fedelini, which is slightly thinner than spaghetti.  Breaking the Fedelini into three sections before cooking it will seem both tantalizingly delicate in texture yet just robust enough to handle the crunch of the raw greens.

Spaghetti Pure & Simple

Serves 4

--1 pound Fedelini (or other thin pasta)
--1/3--1/2cup good quality olive oil
--About 2 (or more, to taste) cups mixed fresh chives, scallions, cilantro and/or   parsley
4-6 ounces plain fresh goat cheese
--Freshly ground black pepper
--Grated, fresh Parmesan cheese
 
Take about a quarter of the pasta and break it into thirds.  When all the pasta has been broken, stir it into to a pot of boiling salted water.  Simmer about 4 to 6 minutes or until it is done to taste.  Drain then transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Stir in the olive oil then add the greens and toss lightly.  Divide the goat cheese into bite-size pieces and scatter them over the pasta.  Top with fresh pepper and grated Parmesan.  Drizzle in a little more olive oil if the dish looks dry.

The Wines:
 
Ramos Pinto, Douro (Portugal) “Duas Quintas” 2018:  A blend of native white grapes, this charming white wine from Portugal is neatly balanced between fruit, acid, minerality and alcohol (13.5%) all of which dovetails tastily with the simplicity of the pasta.  $15
 
Tenuta Garetto, Barbera d’Asti, Agliano Terme (Piedmont, Italy) "Rosina" 2019:  While Barbera is often an intense and heady red wine, it can also be deliciously soft and accessible, which are the qualities that make it a good companion here.  $15
 
Maison Saint Aix, Coteaux d’Aix En Provence (Provence, France) "Aix" Rosé 2020 (Kobrand):  A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault this serious Provençale rosé offers complex fruitiness backed by finely tuned citrus flavors and a firm finish.  $20      



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