Pasta e Fagioli With Escarole | Spaghetti alle Vongole | Cacio E Pepe | Ligurian Pesto With Spaghetti
Pasta e Fagioli With Escarole
Parmesan rind and a kitchen sink’s worth of aromatics give heady flavor to this classic pairing of beans and pasta, no meat required.
1½ cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans, soaked overnight
1 Parmesan rind (about 2 ounces), plus shaved Parmesan for serving
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, halved crosswise
2 celery stalks, halved crosswise
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise; plus 2 cloves, chopped
6 sprigs parsley
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 dried chiles de árbol or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more crushed for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
1 large onion, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
¾ cup dry white wine
3 ounces dried lasagna or other flat pasta, broken into 1–1½-inch pieces
½ small head of escarole, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
Bring beans, Parmesan rind, carrots, celery, head of garlic, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, chiles, and 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, adding more water as needed, until beans are tender, about 1½ hours. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes. Discard vegetables, rind, and herbs.
Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium. Cook onion and chopped garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is almost completely reduced, 12–15 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and their liquid; cook until flavors meld, 12–15 minutes. Add pasta; cook, stirring and adding more water as needed, until al dente, 15–20 minutes. Add escarole and cook until wilted, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Serve soup drizzled with oil and topped with Parmesan and more chile.
Spaghetti alle Vongole
The briny juices from the clams help to flavor this brothy sauce—the fresher the clams, the better the dish.
6 oz. spaghetti
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
2 lb. cockles, Manila clams, or littlenecks, scrubbed
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season lightly with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, swirling pan often, until just golden. Add red pepper flakes and continue cooking 15 more seconds. Add wine, then clams; increase heat to high. Cover skillet and cook until clams open and release their juices, 3-6 minutes, depending on size of clams. As clams open, use tongs to transfer them to a bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet; bring to a boil. Add pasta to pan. Cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and has soaked up some of the sauce from the pan. Add clams and any juices from bowl to pan, along with parsley, and toss to combine. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and drizzle with remaining oil.
Cacio E Pepe
Literally “cheese and pepper”, this minimalist pasta is like a stripped-down mac and cheese. Check out the key step video, shot with our Nest overhead cams.
6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.
Ligurian Pesto With Spaghetti
This recipe makes more pesto than you’ll need. Serve the extra with vegetables or fish, or spread it on sandwiches. This is part of BA’s Best, a collection of our essential recipes.
10 cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves (about 2 bunches)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan plus more
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 pound spaghetti
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Set a colander in a large bowl of ice water (this will make it easier to strain the basil later). Working in batches, blanch basil for 10 seconds. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer basil to colander in ice water; let cool completely. Set aside 1/2 cup blanching water. Reserve pot with blanching water.
Drain basil by lifting colander from ice water. Using your hands, squeeze excess water from basil; transfer basil to paper towels. (You should have about 1/2 cup.)
Place blanched basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until well combined, adding blanching water by tablespoonfuls to thin if needed, and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides. Process until a smooth, thick purée forms, about 1 minute.
Transfer basil mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup oil. Season to taste with salt.
Return water in pot to a boil; add more salt. Cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Spoon 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid into a large bowl. Using tongs, transfer spaghetti to bowl and toss vigorously, drizzling with oil and adding more pesto and cheese as you continue to toss, until spaghetti is glossy and well coated with sauce. Season with salt. Divide among bowls; sprinkle with cheese.