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 can make salami pasta alla gricia (above) instead. There is something delicious about how the sausage makes its fat to coat the noodles. It delivers an intoxicating punch.
I love using salami in pasta sauces. And you don’t always need a prescription for that. Take this over-the-counter recipe for a kind of puttanesca, for example: Just dice a generous handful of salami and sweat it in a pan with a few glugs of olive oil, a generous dose of minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. When the garlic is almost brown, add a can of tomatoes to the mix, use a spoon to break them up, and let it all bubble up, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, when the tomatoes have broken down and are juicy, add a handful of pitted black olives and a few tablespoons of drained capers. Let that simmer while you cook some pasta, then drain and dress with the sauce.
Or check out this black pepper tofu and asparagus. It’s a quick one-pan stir-fry that combines vibrant spring vegetables with blocks of tofu in a rich, spicy, peppery sauce that’s infused with aromatic garlic and ginger. It is excellent over rice.
If you eat with kids or just feel childish, try this new version of fish fingers with peas. The fish is seasoned with spices at every stage of cooking—mainly turmeric, onion and garlic powder—and the peas gather in lemon zest and mint for an updated and remarkably luxurious take on an elementary school classic.
More simply, try this recipe for yo po mian, “oil-sprinkled noodles,” a staple of central northwest China’s Shaanxi province. I like it with a healthy amount of garlic, and I divide the soy sauce between low sodium and dark for a sweeter, more caramelized flavor.
But hot sauce shrimp wouldn’t go wrong in the middle of the week. Nor would a platter of Italian subs with sausage and peppers. Chicken coleslaw with miso sesame vinaigrette? Yes, please, although this white bean and avocado salad with garlic oil is very tempting itself.
More ideas for cooking on a Wednesday in mid-May are available on our TikTok, Instagram and YouTube accounts, and of course on DailyExpertNews Cooking. (Check out this great one for Vietnamese iced coffee.) It’s true that you need a subscription to use them. Subscriptions support our work and keep it going. If you haven’t taken one yet, I hope you consider subscribing today. Thank you.
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Cleaning: Recently I wrote about the beautiful sugar snaps Simon Andrews cooked for a photo of David Malosh. However, they were peas. No wonder mine didn’t look so good!
Now it has nothing to do with raspberries or Cornish wild chickens, but I did enjoy Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s performance as Mickey Haller in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ on Netflix.
It’s the opposite of new, but my friend Manny referred me to the 1963 novel by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, “The General of the Dead Army.” I prepay for that kindness here.
Jason Diamond makes the provocative argument in New York magazine that the best bagels in New York can be on Long Island.
Finally, Jon Pareles and the renowned pop music team at The Times have a new “playlist” featuring new songs from My Chemical Romance, Kendrick Lamar, Julia Jacklin and others. Listen to it while you’re cooking. I’ll be back on Friday.