june b newsletter

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June 23, 2015

I recently met up with an old pal, Renato Sardo from Baia Pasta. He and his partner Dario Barbone are obsessed with quality and just like I got into Rancho Gordo as a home cook, disappointed with the state of heirloom beans, these Italians were not pleased with the state of US pasta production. It's especially odd considering the excellent varieties and quality of our wheat.

Renato brought me some pasta to play with at home and my first bowl was just the cooked pasta tossed with butter and olive oil and topped with some grated cheese. It's Meyer lemon season here so a squeezed a little of that over the whole show and it just hit home that ingredients need to be the star, especially when you're cooking simple dishes.

Another recent obsession has been Pasta e Fagioli. There are as many recipes and variations as there Italian cooks but I knew their version would be something special. And it was. And it's here for you!

Dario notes that they cook their beans in salted water with aromatics like onion, garlic, carrot and celery. They also add old cheese rinds to the pot. I love the idea of using something you'd normally toss and it adds great flavor. Dario also says, "Hey we live for flavor and we love this dish but you might love it even more because of its nutritional profile. Pasta e fagioli is a complete dish with the perfect balance of good carbs, proteins and fats. Grab a spoon and dig in..."

I of course am less concerned about nutrition than the idea of velvety cranberry (borlotti) beans, creamy Royal Coronas and all of their extravegent bean broths mixing and coating each precious noodle. My heart races and my knees buckle.

Cranberry Beans

1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians
(Or try Whole Durum Wheat or Spelt pasta from Baia)
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans. (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with chicken broth)
4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
1 tbs of lard (or 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 carrot, minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of salt
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs tomato paste
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste (optional)

Baia pasta

1. As you prepare the beans, make sure you have lots of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.

2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the sofftritto. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on paper toweling. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to fry the aromatic vegetables. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored. Add the tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is intensified.

3. Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce.

4. Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

5. Add the drained pasta and beans to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.

6. Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil and pass around a bowl of grated percorino or Parmagino cheese for the guests to help themselves.

Buy Cranberry beans from Rancho Gordo
Buy Royal Coronas from Rancho Gordo
Buy pasta from Baia Pasta

Rancho Gordo

Meet the Author: Lesley Tallez at Rancho Gordo
Lesley has written Eat Mexico and you'll have a chance to meet her and have her sign your copy of at our Napa store. We'll have samples and recipe cards to give out. It's been to long since we've had an event and I'm ready to leave this computer and help serve you some beans! I'm especially tickled to have Ceja Wineries on hand to match their wines to Lesley's food.

Meet Lesley Tallez at Rancho Gordo

No need to R.s.v.p.

Rancho Gordo

Help Paula Wolfert Write the Book She Was Meant to Write
So many of the big publishing houses are struggling to figure out their role and unless you're a major name writing The Paleo Microwave Gluten Free Ooey Gooey Cookie Book, you're not going to have an easy go of it. One publisher wanted me to redo my book proposal for an heirloom bean cookbook so I could address the Paleo Diet. We instead published Supper at Rancho Gordo ourselves and have never looked back.
Self publishing is no longer something you do because you can't get published elsewhere. You do it now if you have an audience, a platform and want to do uncompromisingly great work. It's not for every one and every kind of book but this is one of the more exciting projects coming our way and I think it's very smart to let people invest and be a part of the process. 
Paula Wolfert has assembled a team to produce her new book the way she wants it to be done and we're all invited to be part of the process. It's an exciting chance to to be on Team Paula ! Support the pursuit of excellence in a world that seems to demand bland mediocrity. We are the solution!

Visit the Kickstarter page for Unforgettable, Paula Wolfert's new project.

Rancho Gordo

Wooden Gift Boxes Are Back
We had a production problem but now we're happy to welcome back our wooden gift box sets of hot sauce, grains, beans and more.

Rancho Gordo Wooden Gift Box sets

Obviously they make great gift but if you need to treat youself to a little something, this might be a nice way to do it.

Visit Rancho Gordo for all of our Gift Boxes and Sampler sets.

Our San Francisco store is open seven days a week and our Napa store is closed on Sundays. We'd love to meet you in person. Of course the website is available to you day and night.

Remember, we have a complete list of all the beans we grow, with descriptions, on our Website. There are also lots of recipes and cooking ideas as well.

And with that, I thank you for your very kind attention!
See you at the markets or online,

Steve Sando
Rancho Gordo 
1924 Yajome St
Napa CA 94559 
Telephone: 707/259-1935

If you have a friend who might be interested in what we're doing, would you please forward this email to them? And if you're the kind who likes to keep in touch via other social media, here's how to follow us:

Email: customerservice@ranchogordo.com
Website: ranchogordo.com
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Twitter: http://twitter.com/RanchoGordo 
Rancho Gordo Blog: http://ranchogordo.typepad.com/