Crépinettes take their name from the light, membranous fat – called crépine, in French – that they are wrapped in. The classic version, from Bordeaux, is a simple breakfast sausage with a very restrained, precise seasoning: salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. There are other regional incarnations: caillettes, a Burgundian version, that include organ meats; with chard, from farther north; a Bordelaise sophistication with truffles, from the Périgord.
Along the coast and in Bordeaux, crépinettes are often eaten alongside the local, flat-shelled oysters from Arcachon with sauce mignonette, the sharp-edged, perfectly delicious combination of shallot, crushed peppercorns, and white wine. Purists argue this is but a Parisian affection, and many aficionados feel oysters are best eaten “au nature,” that is, as they are, with no accompaniment. But, as the French say, “à chacun, son goût.” Kept the in your refrigerator, crépinettes will last 4-5 days, but no longer. If you must, you can transfer the sausages to an airtight bag and freeze them for up to a month.
Cook your crépinettes in a mixture of half light-bodied olive oil and half butter, or in clarified butter, if you have it on hand. Use a fry pan or, preferably, a cast iron skillet. First warm the pan to a gentle sizzle, and then turn the heat down low. Add a thin coating of the oil-butter mixture (or clarified butter, if that’s what you’re using), and cook the sausages for five minutes on each side, turning once, until firm all the way through. They are wonderful on the grill, too, cooked for the same amount of time.
Serve the crépinettes with buttered baguette and arugula salad, or with oysters, if you’re living large! Some people sacrilegiously serve them with Dijon mustard (it’s good!). We do, if there are no oysters.
We like to drink Kermit’s lovely Savennières from Château d’Epiré with the crépinettes; it’s a stunning combination! Failing that, try a good Pic St. Loup or fill-bodied Entre-Deux-Mers.
Ingredients: Niman Ranch pork, organic garlic, white wine, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, brandy, salt, white pepper, nutmeg.
Fresh Bronze-Cut Rigatoni
This rigatoni is extruded through traditional bronze plates, which leave the pasta with micro-grooves that encourage sauce to cling to the noodle.
Keep refrigerated. Though the pasta is fresh, it can be dried for a few days at room temperature and then stored in the cupboard. If you’d like to try that, then spread the pasta out on a cookie sheet, let it dry out in a cool place until it’s hard, and bag it up and store in a dry, cool spot.
The rigatoni can be cooked just like any other dry noodle you’ve made before: simply boil 2 gallons of water per pound of pasta you plan to cook, heavily salt it until it tastes like ocean water, then add the pasta. Stir from time to time, and cook until al dente, which depending on the freshness of the pasta can take anywhere from 3-10 minutes.
Durum pasta always pairs well with tomato based sauces, so anything from marinara to puttanesca sauce would be perfect. If you have some ragu Bolognese from the last Pop-Up, that’d be pretty delicious, too!
At this time of year, the rigatoni would be perfect with some asparagus, parmesan and black pepper. Simply snap and peel your asparagus, then slice it into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal.
Get the rigatoni going as suggested above in salted, boiling water. In the meantime, heat a large sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. When you can smell the garlic, add and reduce 1/2 cup of cream until thick. When the pasta is almost fully cooked, add the asparagus into the pasta water for about 1 minute.
Drain the pasta and asparagus when they are cooked and add to the reduced cream. Add some grated parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons of butter, and some chopped mint. Toss and serve immediately.
Ingredients: Durum flour, water, extra virgin olive oil.
Moroccan Carrot and Saffron Soup
This exotically spiced vegetarian soup is made with Riverdog Farm's legendary carrots, Persian saffron, and a variety of aromatics. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to a month.
Since the soup is a bit spicy, we love to eat it with a cool yogurt sauce flavored with fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley and dill. Simply chop some herbs, mix with yogurt and a pinch of salt, and spoon over the hot soup.
Ingredients: Riverdog Farm organic carrots, organic onions, water, fresh ginger, serrano chiles, cilantro, parsley, coriander, cumin, saffron, cardamom, extra virgin olive oil, salt.