The market was on today in Mercatale, and normally it’s on a Wednesday, but tomorrow is liberation day, so all the strawberries and asparagus and artichokes were piled up in the piazza a day early. I was so unconvinced that it was possible that there might be a change in schedule that when I saw the clothes hanging from the awnings of the R.V.’s that follow the fruit and vegetable trucks, I thought, wow, the guy who sells shirts and underpants is certainly getting to be all about business showing up a day early. I didn’t even bother to stretch my eyes just that much further to take in the explosion of summer’s bounty, (summer has been liberated as well) that was being pinched and squeezed down the other end of the piazza. I was in the back of the bakery having a chat about the the buying and selling of Bar Centrale when it was confirmed that it was in fact market day by Monica, who knows everything about what goes on the five mile radius of the center of town because of the girl she has working out front, who is extremely well connected.
I went back to buy only a few string beans, but every single thing on offer was the essence of itself and impossible to refuse. I came out loaded with enough to make lunch for my friend Caroline and dinner for my people when they return tonight for Montepulciano, Montalcino, Val D’orcia and Pienza.
I am going to make a quick pasta of garlic cream (1 pint of heavy cream reduced by half with two whole cloves , a sprig of thyme and a peppercorn, then salted to taste). I strain the cream, pushing the softened garlic cloves right through the sieve. Drain the pasta well (about 9 ounces) and once the cream is off the heat, whisk in few globs of sweet gorgonzola and some grated parmesan. Immediatly stir around with the pasta and tear in some fresh basil.
Serve it with red wine and fine, thin slices of prosciutto beforehand that are no bother to wait for at the butcher.Â He has got really comfortable chairs.