A friend from the East Coast came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and over dinner she told me that the one thing of mine she really, really covets is my “dish situation” (by which she meant my collection of serving platters and wine glasses and plates and such).
With zero humility, I have to say: I love the collection I’ve amassed over the years. It includes everything from Noritake dinnerware classics (featured in this post; you can see the collection I curated for the brand here) to vintage finds from all over the country, and is constantly evolving as I discover new style pairings that feel fresh. That’s my favorite thing about my collection, actually: every few seasons, I step back and look at it, think about if and how I want to switch it up, and then simply mix a few new pieces to create a completely new look.
Take the tablescape pictured here, for example, which started with a bunch of pieces I already owned:
- White Colorscapes pieces (which you can see more of here);
- Scandinavian-style Sandefjord serving dishes (which you first saw in this post);
- And my gold-edged mix-and-match pieces that I’ve included in pretty much every entertaining post I’ve ever put up. (Really. We’re talking posts dating all the way back to the last night we spent in our Upper East Side apartment, in 2012.)
The new element I wanted to try: a few dark navy pieces to ground all that lightness and sparkle, and to make the table feel cozy, but still casual and fresh, like the pasta dish you see here (recipe below). What I decided to do was start with the basics I mentioned above, and then add in a few deep blue bowls and plates from Noritake’s NoN Swirl collection, plus textured placemats and a sprinkling of simple greenery.
I love it.
If you’re into the look shown here (or have had a crush on any of the Noritake pieces I’ve featured over the years via my collaborations with the brand), good news: You can use code RG20 to get 20% off any order on NoritakeChina.com. Woo!
RIGATONI WITH PORK AND EGGPLANT RAGU (adapted from this beef ragu recipe)
What You Need:
- 10 oz ground pork
- 1 bag dried pasta of your choice (I chose rigatoni)
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved and seasoned with salt
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb fairy tale eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large handful basil
- Grated pecorino cheese to serve
What You Do:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water, and set aside. (Drizzle some olive oil over it to prevent it from sticking together.)
- In a large pan, heat a splash of olive oil until hot, then add the ground pork. Season with salt and pepper, then cook, occasionally breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes, or until browned. Transfer the browned pork to a bowl (leaving the fond in the pan).
- Add the eggplant rounds to the pan of reserved fond, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
- Return the browned pork to the pan, and add 3/4 cup of the pasta water (or regular water, if you prefer). Cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and the pork is cooked through.
- Add the cooked pasta, the seasoned tomatoes, half of the basil (tear the leaves just before adding), and about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes, or until well-combined.
- Serve garnished with the cheese and remaining basil (again, tear the leaves just before adding).