The weather always seems to change dramatically the day after Labor Day, right on cue; wind and drizzle and an absence of sun, it's also the day the 'summer people' leave except for a few stragglers. After the hustle and bustle of summer Tumbleweed Tuesday marks the beginning of quieter days and a blanketing calm throughout our hamlet, but for me there's a hint of sadness too, especially as I rummage through the sock drawer to find that forgotten garment, once you put the socks on there's no turning back, it's the same with the heating. Maybe the summer days are really behind us? Did we have our 'last swim' in the bay? Did we drink our last glass of summer rose? As much as I love everything about the fall and winter months here in Montauk, it's a very long, teary farewell to summer.
Most of our meals have been cooked outside for the past few months and more often than not the grilled component has been accompanied by a fresh tomato salad and a big pile of arugula. But there is a change in the air and I am drawn to the coziness of our kitchen. I have kale that I picked from the Montauk Community Garden, the kale in my own garden is a long way off picking.....that's if it manages to survive all the bunny-munching that appears to be going on.
The earthiness of kale and mushrooms along with roasted red peppers and buttery arborio rice makes this risotto the perfect match with our Stonecrop Pinot Noir (which by the way we have been drinking all summer long with grilled salmon, caramelized scallops.....the list is long). This is a dish to gently introduce the changing season; a combination of summer and fall; an elegantly comforting dish and if you really want to knock your socks off add Colatura di Alici - this golden syrup (essence of anchovy) can be used to add flavor (just a sprinkle will do) to pasta, it's exceptionally good with kale and gave my risotto a delicious richness.
I chose light cotton dress-socks from Erica Tanov rather than the full-on fluffy possum/merino mix from NZ, it's too soon to be donning woollies!