Chocolate by the bald man and Pasta Fagioli

I have had enough moping around my kitchen, so I’m getting out. I’m going into the big city to see a new chocolate place (MAX BRENNER, CHOCOLATE BY THE BALD MAN) where you can sit down at a table and have a cappuccino with a little trough around the inside edge that you fill with tiny pieces of chocolate, and as it melts, it just runs right into your coffee. They have a chocolate shot that you can sip through a straw and pots of chocolate set over fire to dip stuff. They have bagels with melted chocolate and peanut butter or a double chocolate pizza slice with grilled marshmallows. This is the kind of healing I’m looking for and I might just buy some to bring home to the family.

For dinner, since it’s freezing outside, I’m making soup. Pasta Fagioli. Cook 5 cloves of garlic in your best olive oil, add a whole firm and finely diced onion, the inside stalks of a head of celery, and a sprig of fresh rosemary, and cook that onion until it is so good you can hardly hold yourself back from spreading it on a sandwich and forgetting about the soup (about twenty minutes over a low to medium flame). Add a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes crushed through your hands. Simmer for a half hour. Add the scrubbed rind from a piece of parmigiano reggiano if you have it. You can either cheat, and add a can of rinsed cannellini, smashing about half before they go in, or in another pan bring soaked cannellini to a simmer with a spill of olive oil, a clove of garlic, and a sage leaf. When they are soft, smash about a cups worth and add to the sauce. Add another cup of whole beans, and a few cups of the bean cooking liquid (or some homemade stock if you are using canned beans.) I like to cook the pasta in a separate pan, but you can just throw a cup right into the soup and cook it in there until it’s al dente. Serve with a little spill of olive oil if you have the good stuff (a sip will taste like the fruit of an olive and won’t leave your mouth feeling greasy, but clean), some grated parmesan, and toasted slices of Italian bread drizzled with more of the olive oil.

I like this broccoli rabe on the side and deep red wine. Almond cake is great for dessert.

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