Saturday, March 3, 2018

A friend in deed

For purposes of this discussion the man above, known to many of you as "my friend Joe," shall heretofore be referred to as San Giuseppe.

That's right, the man's a freaking saint. And I can prove it.

He just traveled all the way from Cold Spring, New York, to Bologna, Italy, just to do me a favor. If you're counting that's roughly 4,100 miles—each way.

Why would a man do such a thing?

Simple. So that I could shut up already and start producing a pasta shape that I have been yelling about—very often in his earshot—for nearly two years now.

You see, the last time I was in Bologna I came into possession of this totally awesome solid brass pasta extruder known as a torchietto.

Here is the torchietto right here, equipped with the spaghetti die that it came with.

Nice, huh? And the spaghetti that it makes ain't too shabby either.

What I neglected to put hands on when picking up the torchietto in Bologna was an accompanying die for making passatelli. Passatelli is a simple pasta, in the shape of spaghetti only thicker in width and much shorter in length. It's not made with flour but with breadcrumbs, egg and cheese. Traditionally it's served very simply in a clear broth, or brodo

Like so. 

This, in fact, is a truly authentic passatelli en brodo, the one that I very much enjoyed at Ristorante Cesarina on Via Santo Stefano in Bologna the last time I was there. 

I love passatelli en brodo. And really want to make the stuff right here in my kitchen. 

But I couldn't. Not without the solid brass die that I had so knuckeheadedly left behind at the ancient shop where the torchietto was discovered and purchased.

When he heard about this my friend Joe—at this point he had not yet achieved sainthood—was as ticked off about my oversight as I was. Not so much because he craved a taste of homemade passatelli but because, well, Joe is even more obsessive about getting things right the first time than I am.

"How could you even think of leaving that place without the passatelli die in hand?" he squawked. "You make me crazy sometimes, you know that."

It is sometimes said that having friends who speak their mind freely is a blessing.

I suppose.

Only moments ago I received this photograph via email. It's the passatelli die that San Giuseppe just picked up for me in Bologna. 

"I'm overnighting it as soon as I get home next week," he wrote. "If I had any trust in the Italian postal system, believe me, I'd have overnighted it from here already.”

I informed my recently beatified friend that overnighting the die would not be necessary, that I had waited this long for the die and surely could wait a bit longer. 

"You're already eating passatelli in your head," he shot back, knowing how closely I had been following his movements around Italy these past weeks, anticipating the exact date and time that the die and he would come together. "No reason to torture you by making you wait any longer." 

And so there you have it. Soon a package will arrive and in probably no time at all I'll be at work preparing what will hopefully be a successful passatelli en brodo—in my own kitchen.

Thanks to my very dear friend Saint Joe.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Looks fabulous. What time is dinner???

Michael Hill said...

Great friend, wonderful acknowledgement. Now what can you do for him?

Mister Meatball said...

Good question.