My fiance's grandmother was Italian. She would get angry when fine restaurants would serve simple dishes like foccacia or pasta dressed with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes saying "It's peasant food! It's what we ate when we had no money!"
Inspired by today's chef demo at the market (see the post immediately preceding this one), this week's menu at home is going to happily feature some of that peasant food and we're going to revel in it and top it with some of the prettiest produce from the market and congratulate ourselves for making something that tasted so good with such simple ingredients. In fact that is one reason why I like making Italian food. From one simple base like pasta or pizza, you can find a use for almost anything you bring home from the market. And once you've tried your hand at making your own dough a few times and have your method down, you'll wonder why you didn't learn sooner. Of course sometimes, it's easier to buy a box of dried pasta or pick a pizza up from Hot Lips. But there's something about making it yourself that just makes it taste that much better.
The first thing we did once we made it home from the market was to pull some fresh pasta out of the freezer, cook it and toss it with some basil-hazelnut pesto (available at Kitchen Dances booth) and plan what to do with our booty. This morning, we picked up some Walla Walla onions and corn at Maryhill and some amazingly pungent basil at Growing Gardens. The onions have already been caramelized, the pizza dough in resting in the refrigerator waiting to receive them and some crumbles of goat cheese, or perhaps a classic basil and mozzarella pizza. The corn we'll save for later in the week to grill with some veggie burgers. OK, so veggie burgers are not exactly Italian, but they are a favorite standby for a quick midweek meal. And when you had a smear of pesto or some chutney from Sassafras Catering, ordinary becomes extraordinary.
It's amazing what different shapes a little flour and water can take. Peasant food indeed.