By Isa Covo
Six weeks fully vaccinated. It is a relief, but there is little change in the game: I am still wearing masks in the street, I keep social distance with some unvaccinated acquaintances, but now I can visit my healthy family and be able to hug my grandchildren. I even had lunch outdoors with the occasional friend. Life feels somewhat normal, and soon we will be able to see movies in the theater.
That said we still mourn the more than half a million dead from COVID-19 here, and although the numbers have decreased, more will still die. And then there is the plight and the unimaginable suffering and deaths of migrants, on our southern border coming from South and Central America, and those from the Middle Eastern countries, eager to escape eternal wars, brutal governments, and poverty, risking their lives to reach countries around the Mediterranean as a portal to the west.
I also have a dream, that once the pandemic is controlled, the richer and developed countries will form a coalition to study solutions that would establish order in those countries where the more vulnerable citizens try to escape.
Peace and Love.
Pasta in Butter and Red Caviar Sauce
This recipe was inspired by the cuisine of Northern Italy where butter and lardo, rather than olive oil, are used as fats. A cold white wine makes an excellent accompaniment. A green and radicchio salad seasoned with a light oil and balsamic vinegar dressing can be served on the side. A gelato or a sorbetto of your choice completes the meal.
- ½ cup of roasted unsalted pistachios, lightly crushed
- 12 oz long Italian pasta, bucatini, spaghetti, or tagliatelle
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon grappa, or vodka, or gin, or lemon juice, if preferred
- Salt and pepper
- 12 mixed fresh parsley leaves and dill fronds, chopped
- 4 heaping tablespoons salmon caviar at room temperature
- Put the pistachios inside a folded kitchen towel or a paper towel, place on a flat surface, and crush with a rolling pin into coarse pieces. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over very low heat. Add the garlic and cook stirring for about three to four minutes, until the garlic softens and becomes fragrant. Turn the heat off but leave the skillet on the stove.
- In a large saucepan bring to boil 3 quarts of water and a tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta. As soon as it softens slightly, stir, and cook for about five more minutes
- Turn off the burner and remove two cups of the pasta water.
- Add the nutmeg and the Worcestershire sauce to the skillet and set the heat to medium high. Add the pasta cooking water and boil the mixture stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture emulsifies and is slightly reduced. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Toss the pasta in the butter sauce and cook an additional two to three minutes, adding more cooking water by the tablespoon as the liquid in the skillet evaporates, until the pasta is cooked al dente. All the water may not be needed.
- Turn the heat all the way down, add the grappa, season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper, mix in the herbs, then very gently add the caviar.
- Serve in plates or bowls and sprinkle with the crushed pistachios.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings