Make salami pasta alla gricia, or skip the recipe entirely with a freestyle puttanesca.
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By Sam Sifton
Good morning. Pasta alla gricia is one of the all-stars of the Roman pasta canon, a simple preparation with guanciale, Pecorino Romano and black pepper. But if you don’t have guanciale (and don’t have a few days to prepare your own), you might make salami pasta alla gricia (above) instead. There’s something delightful about how the sausage renders its fat to coat the noodles. It delivers a heady punch.
I love using salami in pasta sauces. And you don’t always need a recipe to do so. Take this no-recipe recipe for a kind of puttanesca, for example: Just dice up a big handful of salami and sweat it in a pan with a few glugs of olive oil, a healthy dose of minced garlic and red-pepper flakes. When the garlic’s about to brown, add a can of tomatoes to the mix, using a spoon to break them up, and let it all burble, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes or so, when the tomatoes have broken down and everything’s saucy, add a handful of pitted black olives and a couple of tablespoons of drained capers. Simmer that gently while you cook some pasta, then drain it and dress with the sauce.
Alternatively, take a look at this black-pepper tofu and asparagus. It’s a fast, one-pan stir-fry that combines vibrant spring vegetables with blocks of tofu in a rich, spicy, peppery sauce that’s spiked with aromatic garlic and ginger. It’s excellent over rice.
If you’re eating with children or just feeling childish, you might try this from-scratch version of fish sticks with peas. The fish gets hit with seasoning at every stage of cooking — primarily turmeric, onion and garlic powders — and the peas gather in lemon zest and mint for an updated and remarkably luxe take on a grade-school classic.
More simply you might try this recipe for yo po mian, “oil sprinkled noodles,” a staple of the Shaanxi Province in China’s central northwest. I like it with a healthy amount of garlic, and I split the soy sauce between low-sodium and dark for a sweeter, more caramelized flavor.
But hot-sauce shrimp would not be in error in the middle of the week. Nor would a platter of Italian subs with sausage and peppers. Chicken and cabbage salad with miso-sesame vinaigrette? Yes, please, though this white bean and avocado salad with garlic oil is itself very tempting.
More ideas for what to cook on a Wednesday in the middle of May are available on our TikTok, Instagram and YouTube accounts, and of course on New York Times Cooking. (Check out this terrific one for Vietnamese iced coffee.) It’s true that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. If you haven’t taken one out already, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Thanks.
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Housekeeping: The other day I wrote about the beautiful sugar snap peas Simon Andrews cooked for a David Malosh photograph. They were snow peas, though. No wonder mine didn’t look as good!
Now, it’s nothing to do with raspberries or Cornish game hens, but I’ve been enjoying Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s performance as Mickey Haller in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” on Netflix.
It’s the opposite of new, but my pal Manny put me on to the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare’s 1963 novel, “The General of the Dead Army.” I pay that kindness forward here.
Jason Diamond, in New York magazine, makes the provocative argument that the best bagels in New York may be on Long Island.
Finally, Jon Pareles and the estimable pop-music squad at The Times have a new “Playlist” highlighting new tracks from My Chemical Romance, Kendrick Lamar, Julia Jacklin and others. Listen to those while you’re cooking. I’ll be back on Friday.
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