Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arugula Simplicity

In this day and age of Ferran Adria-inspired culinary alchemy we can easily forget the sublime joy of the simplicity of so much Mediterranean food. I went to my local farmers market this morning and purely by coincidence one farmer had his leafy bunches of crisp arugula next to a bin of nicely ripe beefsteak tomatoes and it immediately reminded me of a dish I hadn't made in a while.

Arugula is a popular vegetable in Apulia, the province that is the heel of the Italian boot, and it is used as often in stews and pasta dishes as Americans use it in salads. Cavatieddi con la Ruca is a simple dish of cavatelli, a pasta shaped like a cowrie shell, made by throwing the arugula into the boiling water with the cavatelli, draining and then tossing the pasta with tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. That's all it is.

Cavatelli is the pasta Vinny Mancini (Andy Garcia) instructs Mary Corleone (Sofia Coppola) to make, standing behind her in an erotically charged scene from GODFATHER III. Delicious on both counts.

[Photo: Clifford A. Wright]

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