I like to use cherry tomatoes with a variety of colors, because it makes me feel special. All we need to do is sprinkle them with salt and let them hang out in the butter, over medium heat, while the pasta continues to boil. At this point in the process, you should be finished with your first glass of wine or beer. And probably singing a little. Or humming, at least. When the pasta is a little under al dente, take about 1 cup of pasta water and add it to the pan of tomatoes, along with the rest of that stick of butter.
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You can use a little less butter if you want, but I did warn you that this wasn't going to be healthy This is where the magic of the sauce happens. Stirring vigorously, use the pasta water to melt the butter into the garlic and tomatoes, crushing some while leaving others whole. The fat from the butter will start to emulsify with the water and tomato liquid, giving you a luxurious, silky sauce that will hang all over your pasta.
Toss it in the sauce, adding a bit more butter , if needed. At this point, hit it with a sprinkling of salt , red pepper flakes , and some grated Parm which will really get that sauce to a perfect glossy consistency. As a final flex, I like to take some of those sliced, fried baguette things that cost about a buck at Whole Foods and crush them over the pasta, effectively adding giant breadcrumbs to the plate. And a bunch of stuff you already have hanging around the pantry. The beauty of pasta is that you don't have to be extravagant to deliver happiness.
The pillars of life. Or maybe, the pillars of complete disregard for self-control. Considering I'll eat three plates of this stuff, I'll go with the latter. Grated squash, Parm, and that oh-so-tasty pasta cooking liquid make up this luscious, meat-free sauce. This is what you make when you swear you have nothing in your fridge. It also alleviates that home-late-from-work-and-starving panic, in that this dish comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta and you can snack on the untoasted walnuts while you wait.
Something about the grainy nuttiness of the pasta works well with the grainy nuttiness of the pesto.
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Bonus: If you have some ricotta in your fridge, a dollop on top is pure luxury. Measure about 3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Use a mortar and pestle to crush half a garlic clove with a big pinch of kosher salt. Add the walnuts, some sage —about three fresh leaves or two generous pinches dried—and crush until chunky-creamy. Drizzle in a quarter-cup of olive oil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente , reserving a half-cup or so of the pasta cooking liquid. Stir the cooking liquid into the pesto to thin it out a bit—you want it silky with chunks.
Toss the pasta with pesto in a big bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with more grated Parmesan and Microplaned lemon zest. About a year ago, cacio e pepe became my go-to.
When I arrived home drunk and hungry at 1 a. Found the recipe on this same site, even! It's an easy enough recipe to memorize, and the ratios aren't too strict—really, the key is making sure you have enough pasta water in there to make your noodles glossy, and that you add an amount of black pepper that feels obscene. Toasting the pepper in butter makes you feel clever.
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There are times, however, when I want a certain amount of vegetable matter on my dinner menu. Eating a salad alongside something as rich and perfect as this pasta feels silly, and distracts from what we're all here for cheese and butter and noodles. So I began adding roasted vegetables to my cacio e pepe, an inobtrusive and healthful bonus. The following works best with short pasta, so that all the bits in your bowl are the same size.
First, roast some vegetables —small-chopped winter squash and Brussels sprouts work just as well as bitter broccoli rabe. Roast them with salt and plenty of pepper and olive oil , and maybe some hardy herbs like thyme or rosemary , if you feel like it. Then, bring some heavily salted water to a boil; once it does, add your pasta I like short pastas with cubed vegetables, but you do you!
While the pasta cooks, heat up some butter —a generous tablespoon per person—in a large skillet on low heat.
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Once it foams, crack in an ungodly amount of black pepper. Meanwhile, draining the cooked pasta, reserving a little extra cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the butter-pepper-sauce pan and swirl it all together. After that's all cooked for a minute, add the vegetables and a whole bunch of grated Parm or Pecorino. You want it to be glossy; if it looks dry or clumpy, add more pasta water.
Taste, adjust however you like, and serve with even more! From a metaphorical, non-anatomical perspective hopefully , it occupies a large place in my heart. Going to the grocery store and buying hunks of Parmesan, obscure eggplants, and cured Italian meats is something I live for.
Rent week in these months is painful and my grocery budget is tight. So after handing that check to my landlord, I make Sad Boy Pasta. You do not have to be sad or a boy to eat Sad Boy Pasta. Everyone is allowed to make and eat this pasta. I just happened to be in a very exhausting place and a male when I created this dish, hence the name.
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Paying rent in New York City was still a new concept, and my budget management skills were amateur, at best. My parents had recently visited, and before leaving, my mom dropped a few boxes of pasta on my table. This was Sunday. Payday was Friday, and I had five dinners in front of me. In a Charlie Kaufman-esque twist of chronology, this story basically ends with me eating the same dish five nights in a row.
I had eggs in the fridge and two bags of peas in the freezer. Add a ramshackle spice cabinet and a bottle of olive oil that, if nominated for an Oscar, might have to accept it posthumously, and Sunday night dinner appeared. While waiting for the water to boil, take the peas out of the freezer, smash 5 cloves of garlic with the side of a knife. Add a bit of olive oil to a frying pan and cook the garlic on medium-low heat until slightly brown and soft throughout. Remove the garlic and chop it into smaller pieces. Drain the oil from the pan into a large bowl.
Crack 6 eggs and separate the yolks. Whisk the yolks into the reserved garlic oil until blended. It seems like a lot of yolks, but when they mix with the oil it makes an insanely creamy sauce you thought you could only get at restaurants. The silkiness is inspiring. As a result of pure laziness, I cook my peas in the boiling pasta water, a method that test kitchen manager Brad Leone and food director Carla Lalli-Music were surprisingly into.
When I think my pasta is almost done, I dump 1 bag of frozen peas. They should cook for no more than 30 seconds. Once your pasta is al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and pour the pasta and peas into a colander or mesh strainer. Add the peas and pasta to the egg and oil mixture immediately. You want the noodles to be hot, so it firms up the egg for the sauce.
Toss everything to coat, adding the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and cracked black pepper to flavor.
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