Above: “Pasta in bianco,” literally “pasta in white,” one of my favorite things to eat. Pasta dressed simply with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and chili flakes.
In the wake of holiday feasting and the unusually cold weather here in Texas (making it all the more challenging to head to the gym!), Tracie B and I have been indulging lately in one of our not-so-guilty pleasures: pasta in bianco, literally, pasta [dressed] in white.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add a heaping handful of kosher salt (“enough to make it taste like seawater,” is the way Tracie B likes to put it). Cook a short or long pasta to the desired firmness (some like it more al dente than others). And then toss with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and chili flakes (if desired). Sometimes I’ll throw some finely chopped flatleaf parsley in as well.
After bread and wine, pasta in bianco (which can also be made using butter in the place of olive oil), is one of G-d’s true gifts to humankind. And it’s also one of the most healthy things you can eat. South Beach diet? Atkins diet? Hogwash! If you want to slim down or just stay trim, avoid protein and meat. Eat easy-to-digest starches dressed with the “good fat” of olive oil. When I first lived in Italy (more than 20 years ago) and pasta and rice became the central ingredient of my diet, my health (and life) changed radically for the better.
Above: Librandi is a high-volume winery in Calabria that makes well-priced food-friendly wines. They’re highly affordable, clean, and delicious. Calabrian and Apulian wine represent some of the greatest value in the market today.
I got a lot of feedback from yesterday’s post on the Calabria riots.
Last night, with Calabria on our minds, we opened a beautiful wine from Calabria that we love, Cirò Bianco: Calabrian Greco vinified in stainless-steel by Librandi. Bright (but not tongue-splitting) acidity, balanced minerality, and low alcohol (and a more-than-reasonable price) made this wine an ideal pairing for our pasta in bianco.
In other news (from the “recommended reading” department)…
Eric did a wonderful post yesterday poking fun at the fine art of pairing fine with junk food, The Match Game.
His recommended pairing for Mrs. B’s Chex Mix was Pearl lager.
I imagine Eric knows the famous beer of San Antonio from his days as a grad student at University of Texas at Austin.
That’s San Antonio and Austin music legend Doug Sahm with a can of Pearl in the photo left (courtesy of Pogzilla via IWG). (I’m sure you know Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan as icons of the Texas music scene but locally, Doug Sahm is considered its über-hero.) The Pearl Brewery is in the midst of a veritable renaissance these days: the facility itself and the adjacent retail and restaurant complex has become one of the top food and wine destinations in Central Texas. Definitely worth checking out…
Thanks for reading! Ya’ll come back now!