You’ve just got to love the Itialians in Boston’s North End – they sure know how to throw a hellava party! Not to slight Southie with their St. Paddy’s Day parade but really, that’s just one day whereas the North End starts warming up in June with weekly processions of saints The saint of the week gets hauled through the narrow streets, down to the harbor for a blessing (now that we’ve gotten that tea out of the harbor, it’s fairly clean), and people run out to pin money on the saint.
Once August rolls around though, things get serious, its time to close down streets, line up the food vendors, bring on the music, and party!
The streets swarm with people grazing from one food stand to another, tourists wear weird plastic lobster claws on their heads (no picture of that since I figure they should be embarrassed enough), and plenty of nonas walk around with their string bags inspecting the produce (no picture of them either since I hate getting beat up by a 5′ lady with a string bag of salami).
We went to two of the major feasts – The Fisherman’s Feast of the Madonna
which was a great time but my favorite feast is the Feast of St. Anthony.
Madonna’s terrific but St. Anthony’s the go-to guy for lost things so I always like to pin a few bucks on him since I’m always losing stuff. My husband’s quite the joker though – as I was climbing off the platform I clearly heard him say “Well at least it didn’t burst into flames – that’s a miracle right there”. Ok, so I’m not particularly religious but I’m okay with Anthony. Anyway, after covering my bases with St. Anthony we did some serious grazing at the stands – slurped up some cherrystones and raw oysters, stuffed clams, maybe a lobster roll – we needed a little break and headed to a great rooftop bar to replenish our fluids and start on some appetizers.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally get a taste of burrata in a caprese salad. I’ve been craving this since reading John’s (Bartolini Kitchens) pasta recipe using burrata cheese. It was every bit as delicious as John promised.
After appetizers, you obviously need dinner. If you haven’t been to the North End then let me explain that you could put a blindfold on, walk in any direction and stumble into a great Italian restaurant. Our choice was Artu’s.
And this is where I need your help…my dinner was fantastic but Niki’s dinner was super fantastic and since she was a little ‘protective’ of her meal, I didn’t get much and I’m hoping to recreate it. I’ve got the ingredients and was going to take a stab at making this into a recipe post but I’m interested in for your input on the sequence. I was going to give it a try but figured… hey I’ve got the best food minds around the world – why not ask for some advice, especially on the sauce.
These are the ingredients: black mission figs, sausage, mascarpone cheese on penne.
Our waitress was kind enough to ask the chef how the sauce was made and he said it was just butter, salt and pepper. I would love to hear your suggestions for the sequence of cooking up the ingredients. I’m thinking the sausage and figs can get cooked up together – it’s the mascarpone cheese that I wonder when to add in. I’d love to hear from you before I go messing up a really fabulous dish.
Alas, all good things must come to an end so after dinner we asked St. Anthony to help us find our car and strolling through the streets filled with confetti, I thought to myself….”I’m sure glad I don’t have to clean up after this party!”