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It's a rather boring color with a bit of a chichi reputation. It's so much more sophisticated than, say, tan or beige.
It's an elusive color with many versions and variations but nothing definitive, like 'red' or 'blue'.
It's also the French word for the wretched little blind creature that is destroying our gardens.
La taupe! That's where the color comes from: the color of the skin of 'la taupe', the mole.
In France, at least in rural France, each commune has a taupe-killer. In our little area it's the son of the Mayor's Secretary. I have no idea if he has another job or if killing moles is his full time vocation.
We've called him every spring and he comes around a day or so later with his stick and pipe. The routine is simple: he finds recent mounds, digs with the stick to find the hole then drops a pellet of something lethal through the pipe into the burrow. He charges 16 euros ($20.00) total and guarantees his work for a year.
He came in April, one year after his last visit. La taupe had been busy in my herb garden, even pushing up dirt through the black plastic and gravel covered paths. The whole garden was carefully checked, each mound attended to. We were done for another year, I assumed.
About 3 weeks later I glanced out the bedroom window and saw a mound of dirt about 2 feet across and 1 foot high. La taupe est retournée! He brought his friends. There were a dozen or more mounds. I called, the taupe-killer came and repeated his task. No charge: the work is guaranteed.
About 4 weeks later the same thing! This time the mounds were bigger and even more prolific. I also found one working in the vines and another near the potager. I called again. He came again. This time I insisted on paying; after all, there were obviously new moles in new places that he couldn't possibly have eradicated the first two times. He smilingly refused any payment. The work is guaranteed.
Yesterday, we had him come yet again. More mounds; bigger mounds; but in a new area. He cheerfully did his job, once again refusing payment. The work is guaranteed.
What, you are wondering, does all this have to do with Presto Pasta Night, started and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast?
Simple: Golden Taupe – the color of Smoked Pasta!
Smoked pasta, you say? You bet your sweet ….
This is based on a recipe I found years ago in 'Joy of Grilling' and it's utterly, absolutely fantastic. We don't make it often as it's a bit time consuming and we usually get out the big smoker for it. And as long as we have the smoker fired-up we usually smoke some salmon as well. You can do it on a kettle-type grill (Weber) but you do need charcoal and wood chips.
fresh farfalle (or other pasta) 9 oz (250 gr) package
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
5 oz shredded semi-soft mild cheese, fontina, raclette
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbs parsley
2 tbs Kirschwasser
Grilling pan – or aluminum foil barbecue pan
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Find an old metal pan (you won't want to use it for anything but the grill, again) or buy an aluminum foil one – about 8 x 10" (22 X 25cm). When pasta is done, drain it and put it into the pan. Add all ingredients but shredded cheese and toss to combine. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Put on top rack of smoker and smoke about an hour, until top starts to brown. If using kettle-type barbecue, place over indirect heat, add wood chips and smoke about 30 minutes, or until top starts to brown.
This is an honored recipient of my "DO" award (digestive org*sm).
Stop by Once Upon a Feast on Friday to see all of the wonderful pasta recipes.
If you want more information on smoking see Thyme for Cooking Techniques.
New addition: I forgot that I had described how to build a smoker from a cardboard box on a previous post I saw Alton Brown do it on Good Eats (T.V. show in the U.S.) – the link to his article doesn't work but my description is there.