(photo: prior to breaking the pasta into smaller pieces, notice the length!)
I love impromptu meals; that is to say, one of the biggest thrills I experience in the kitchen is when one dish I have in mind turns into something completely different or helps inform a second dish. For example, when starring at a few chicken legs in my refrigerator this evening I immediately thought of a stove simmered chicken dish (a type of chicken cacciatore). The dish included garden zucchini, one whole onion, about 8 pieces of coarsely chopped garlic, parsley, and a 1/3rd of a bottle of Pinot Grigio from Venezia. I simmered the ingredients on the stove top for about 1.5 hours and, this is where the “one dish informing another” comes into play, after producing a wonderful liquid in the pan infused with chicken, zucchini, garlic, and white wine flavors, I boiled 250 grams (enough for left overs) of Zitoni Casarecci from Pastificio Vicidomini and tossed with the wonderful impromptu sauce.
(photo: chicken legs with whie wine, onion, zucchini, and a bit of hot pepper)
Zitoni Casarecci is an extremely long pasta which is bent about halfway in length (it’s about 4x the length of a typical strand of linguine). The pasta has a large hole running the length of it’s shape and holds sauce / condiment very well. The short version of Casarecci goes well with a meat sauce and so does the Zitoni variant. My Calabrian mother informed me that Zitoni Casarecci was often sold at her local pasta shape in Pellegrina (Bagnara Calabra) by the pound (dry of course, as fresh pasta is not often found in Calabria). The pasta designated an important time and was only purchased a few times a year (due to cost). Typically, the pasta is broken into short lengths before boiling. I was especially excited about the quality of the Casarecci and I’ve been re-energized to continue the Scordo Pasta Challenge