Cacio e Pepe Alla Colu

Serves 4.

Note: This Roman classic is traditionally made with just three ingredients: spaghetti, pecorino Romano and black pepper — lots of it. Cookbook author Colu Henry adds butter to help emulsify the cheesy sauce. The pasta can be made ahead and refrigerated for three or four days. Adapted from Henry’s “Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly.”

• Salt

• 12 oz. dried spaghetti

• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter (salted or unsalted)

• 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

• 1 c. freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt it generously.

Add the spaghetti; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to the package directions (for al dente).

When the pasta is about halfway done cooking, start the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pepper and stir for about 2 minutes, until it is aromatic. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water directly from the pasta pot; once the mixture is bubbling, cook for 1 minute, stirring, to form a well-blended (emulsified) sauce.

Drain the pasta, reserving another 1/2 cup of its cooking water.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the cooked spaghetti and the cheese directly to the skillet, tossing vigorously until evenly coated and the cheese has melted. Add the 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water; cook for 1 minute more.

Divide among individual bowls or plates; serve with additional cheese and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 520 Fat 19 g Sodium 890 mg

Carbohydrates 64 g Saturated fat 11 g Total sugars 3 g

Protein 19 g Cholesterol 50 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

 

BLT Bucatini

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: America’s favorite sandwich gets an Italian makeover, with pasta standing in for the bread, pancetta for the bacon and spicy arugula for the lettuce. Pancetta is pork belly, same as bacon, but cured with salt and spices rather than smoked. You can use thickly sliced bacon to give your bucatini a smoky flavor. The pasta can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three days. Adapted from “The Glorious Pasta of Italy,” by Domenica Marchetti.

• Salt

• 8 oz. thickly or thinly sliced pancetta (may substitute thick-cut bacon; see Note)

• 1 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 lb. dried bucatini

• 5 oz. baby arugula leaves

• 1/2 c. freshly grated pecorino-Romano cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt it generously.

Cut the sliced pancetta into 1/2-inch cubes or pieces. Cut each tomato in half.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, scatter the pancetta in the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta fat has started to render (melt) and the meat is lightly browned and somewhat crispy.

Add the tomatoes to the pan; increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have collapsed and the liquid in the pan has thickened into a sauce. Reduce the heat as needed to keep the sauce barely bubbling at the edges. Taste, and season with salt, as needed.

Turn off the heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.

Add the bucatini to the boiling water; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to package directions (for al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the bucatini to the skillet and gently toss with the sauce, adding a splash or two of the cooking water, as needed, to loosen the consistency.

Add the arugula by the handful and continue to toss for a minute or so, just until the greens are wilted.

Divide among individual bowls and sprinkle each portion with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 500 Fat 19 g Sodium 1,270 mg

Carbohydrates 62 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 6 g

Protein 22 g Cholesterol 45 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Lemon Spaghettini

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Yes, you can have a luxurious dinner midweek. All you need is lemon, some cream, herbs, good cheese — and pasta. Spaghetti’s skinnier sibling is what you want for this delicate sauce. The pasta can be made ahead and refrigerated for three or four days. Adapted from “Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions,” by Domenica Marchetti.

• Salt

• 1 small lemon

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 c. heavy cream

• Leaves from 2 large sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

• Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh basil

• 1 lb. dried spaghettini (thin spaghetti)

• 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

• Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt it generously.

Zest the lemon with a microplane grater or zester (no white pith). Squeeze the lemon and measure out 2 tablespoons of juice.

Combine the oil and lemon zest in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring now and again, for a couple of minutes, until the zest starts to sizzle gently.

Stir in the cream and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, until the cream is heated through. Then whisk in the lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time, to form a thickened sauce. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Finely chop the parsley and basil; you should end up with about a tablespoon of each.

Add the spaghettini, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to package directions (for al dente). Watch closely, as this thin spaghetti cooks quickly. Drain in a colander set in the sink, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Return the pasta to the pot, then pour the sauce over it. Toss gently to combine. Stir in the cheese, herbs and a few grindings of black pepper. Add a splash or two of cooking water, as needed, to loosen the sauce. Toss once more, then divide among individual bowls, and serve with additional cheese.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 520 Fat 25 g Sodium 540 mg

Carbohydrates 59 g Saturated fat 12 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 14 g Cholesterol 60 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

 

Farfalle With Salmon, Peas and Sage

Serves 2 as main-course or 4 small servings.

Note: This dish provides yet another good reason to keep a bag of green peas in your freezer. They’re as good as fresh. Not only do they make a fast side dish (say, sautéed with shallots), but you can also add them to curries, frittatas and pot pies. Here, they combine with salmon for an easy, elegant pasta dish. Adapted from “The Glorious Pasta of Italy,” by Domenica Marchetti.

• 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more as needed

• 8 oz. wild-caught salmon fillet, skinned

• 1 tbsp. butter (salted or unsalted)

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 medium shallot

• Leaves from 1 large sprig fresh sage

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 3 tbsp. dry white wine

• 1/4 c. heavy cream

• 1/2 c. frozen green peas, defrosted

• 8 oz. dried farfalle (bowtie pasta)

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt it generously.

Cut the salmon into 3/4-inch cubes.

Combine the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter starts to sizzle, stir in the shallot and sage. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shallots have begun to soften.

Increase the heat to medium-high; add the salmon, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Cook for about 1 minute, tossing the salmon gently to coat evenly.

As soon as the salmon begins to turn opaque, sprinkle in the wine. Let it bubble for about 30 seconds, then stir in the cream and peas; cook for 5 to 7 minutes to form a sauce that is barely bubbling at the edges. The peas should be heated through yet still bright green. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Add the farfalle to the boiling water; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to package directions (for al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the farfalle to the skillet; gently toss with the sauce until well incorporated. Add a splash or two of the cooking water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

Divide among individual bowls and serve.

Nutrition information per each of 4 servings:

Calories 420 Fat 17 g Sodium 500 mg

Carbohydrates 44 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 20 g Cholesterol 60 mg Dietary fiber 3 g