Burnt-Wheat Pasta – Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce and Ricotta Salata

Making your own shaped pasta like cavatelli or orecchiette (as versus rolling out noodles) is so gleeful, so hilariously liberating, that I can only compare it to being a little kid running naked down the street hollering, “Look at me!  Look at me!”  It’s just that great.  Er… what?  You never ran outside naked as a kid?  Really?  Never?  Well, sounds to me like somebody’s got some serious catching up to do.  No, don’t take your clothes off–we’re all adults now–the naked-in-the-street developmental train left the station some time ago.  But that’s okay–you can still make Homemade Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce.  You don’t believe me now, but if you share the joy and invite a friend to help, a friend with a bottle of wine, after seeing each other’s first dozen cavatelli, hilarity will ensue.  Nobody’s cavatelli are bad–some are just different–and you do get better, fast.  

Poor No More – Spaghetti with Clams and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Spaghetti and Clams with Toasted Bread Crumbs takes its inspiration from two dishes–spaghetti alla vongole, a dish of string pasta with clams popular in Naples, Rome, wider Campania and farther north along the Italian coastline; and pasta con il pangrattato, pasta with breadcrumbs, a very basic dish of la cucina povera, the cooking of the poor.  At its most elemental the latter contains no more than pasta, breadcrumbs, oil, salt and a bit of garlic.  Variations include raisins, cauliflower, anchovies and olives, which is to say that a little stale bread, some pasta and oil is all you need for dinner–if you have anything else you can dine in the lap of luxury.