The theme ingredient tonight was Paccheri di Gragnano. I purchased this pasta up the road from my flat on Solano in Berkeley at A.G. Ferrari (an overpriced Italian market that sometimes has the perfect specialty ingredient).
I first was introduced to Paccheri while on stage in Nusco (Avellino area of the Campania region in Italy). There, my chef at the time, Antonio Pisaniello would make them with the most seasonal ingredient available. Often for me it was with crema di zucca (gourd or pumpkin) and sometimes with a black truffle sauce.
Paccheri are really great and through my experiences this pasta is best enjoyed when not fully cooked and more on the al dente side. Often times the pasta is layed out into a bowl and usually tossed with the sauce or even finished to cook with the sauce it is served with.
In my preperation I left the sauce off of the pasta and only mixed it through once I started to enjoy my plate.
Last week I went up to the Chalk Hill area of Sonoma with my co-workers on the intention of hunting some wild boar. We came up short on the boar but we returned with about forty-five pounds of Chanterelle mushrooms.
I quickly sauteed a small amount of mushrooms in olive oil to add flavor to my Paccheri with tomato sauce.
My end result did not appeal to my utmost visual satisfaction but I'm just getting back into the swing of things (cooking at home) and no dissapointment was involved!