~ Wild Lavender at Monterosa ~

Our villa in Chianti was perched on top of a stony ridge overlooking the wee hamlet of Vagliagli.   Not only was the location prime, but the cottage was seemingly carved out of the natural landscape.  The property was covered with grape vines, olive trees, fig trees, wild lavender, rosemary, artichokes and arugula.  Even a stray Cinghiale was spotted, no doubt the agitator of the local dogs that night.   The wild arugula played a starring role in many dishes we came across and so I’ve created a hearty pasta to highlight this peppery green. 
 
Pasta alla Cinzia
 
1 pound Rigatoni or Penne
1 can Cannellini Beans, drained & rinsed
2 oz. Pancetta, diced
1 sweet onion, sliced
8 oz. San Marzano Passata
12 oz. Arugula
 
Over medium heat, start by sweating the onions in some extra virgin olive oil until they are soft and picking up some color.  Then add the Pancetta and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes more. 



~ Onions & Pancetta working:  Not the color on the onions ~
 
Next, add the white beans and the Passata, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes reduce.  Stir occasionally,  but do so gently so as not to break up the beans.  While this is coming together, begin to cook the pasta.

~ This is the “condimento” after about 15 minutes.  It’s pretty much ready to go.  You can note the consistency of the tomatoes and the beans ~

Once the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and then drain.  Toss the pasta in with the sauce and stir through.  Add the arugula and toss until the arugula is barely wilted.  If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a little of the pasta water or a drizzle of good olive oil. 

~ Just before plating: You can see the Arugula wilting, but also notice that the amount of tomato in the recipe is not significant.  This is about the pasta and the arugula foremost ~

Serve immediately on warmed plates and pass grated Pecorino at the table.   With this we drank another wonderful bottle of the 2011 Felsina Chianti Classico.  A workhorse, a mainstay.  I reviewed this back in June, so here is the link to that wine:  Forza Felsina!

~ The Chef’s Plate – Well cheesed! ~

Bon Appetito!

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