Occhi di Lupo with Ceci and Tomato
I had ceci on my mind all day. A small can was tucked away in the corner of the cabinet behind the lentils, rice and quinoa.
It has to be the chill in the air. I wasn't craving ceci or lentils all that much until about a week ago.
It was almost 7:00 and our appetites were pretty swollen. I started laying out my vision for the sauce. Roberto ran with it. A few generous glugs of olive oil into the pan. A clove of garlic, chopped. A small shallot, chopped. Red pepper flakes, more than a generous shake, because we like it spicy. A surplus of tomatoes from the farmers market, about three large, seeds removed, diced. Tablespoon tomato paste. Splash of red wine. A third of a cup ceci. A tablespoon parsley and about 5 basil leaves.
'Wolf-sized' I repeated. 'Wolf's eyes' he corrected. 'Occhi di Lupo means wolf's eyes' he said. I kinda like that. Big tubular pasta. Just the right size for a ceci here or there to get caught up in. A nice diversion from our usual weeknight line up.
The pasta was nearly ready and the sauce was 'perfetto'. I was in love with that sauce...anxious to devour it, which I knew I would do without shame. I would inhale it.
When the pasta was plated and we were seated, we gilded with a fine grate of parmigiano. We made quick work of the first bowl and even quicker work of a smaller second which means we polished off every lick of pasta, every ounce of sauce. No ceci was left behind.
This dish pulls us into fall and pushes us towards the long cold winter months ahead. It inspires other heartier meals, perhaps a lentil soup with ditalini followed by a shoulder of goat roasted with rosemary, garlic, onion, potatoes and carrots.
Clementines, chestnuts and panettone.
I'll miss the summer, but look forward to the comforts of cold weather foods ahead.