Pasta Bianco

This is a decadent, simply scrumptious pasta recipe that you can make in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. We had a similar dish at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix Arizona, which, arguably, has some of the best pizza in the country. They made this with fresh paparadelle, wide flat homemade noodles. It was a hit at our table, and I have deciphered the recipe for you. You can make it with fettucine or linguini if you like, it is just as good. We make it with linguine. It is similar to an Alfredo sauce without the cream. However, it is not low fat, low carb, gluten-free, vegan or non-dairy. But it is delectable. Hey, sometimes you gotta splurge. I wouldn’t eat this every night but once in a while, when I am tired and need a quick elegant dinner, this is the ticket. Serve with a tossed green salad and some steamed romano beans or broccoli for an easy to prepare, amazingly delicious meal.

The secret is in the quality of ingredients. You can’t use canned or pre-grated cheese; it must be fresh, and the best you can find, Reggiano Parmegiano if you can get it. You need to use sweet butter, no margarine allowed. The garlic, shallots and herbs have to be fresh, no garlic powder or dried chives. You should serve it hot, immediately after cooking so it retains its creamy consistency. You can use fresh pasta if you like, allow about 4-5 ounces of fresh pasta per person, 3-3 ½ ounces of dried pasta per person. If you are making this as first course, cut back on the amount of pasta, but we usually eat this as a main, because it is so rich, I can’t imagine eating anything other than vegetables afterwards.

 

Pasta Bianco – Serves 2. Prep time 8 minutes (boiling the water). Cook time 12 minutes.

7 ounces dried long pasta – Linguini or Fettucine.

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

2 Tablespoons minced shallot

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or a mixture of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano plus more for passing

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of crushed red pepper

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, chives or a mixture

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Bring four quarts of salted water to boil. It should taste like the ocean. Salted water adds flavor to the pasta.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, put the butter and oil into a heavy frying pan over low heat to melt the butter. Mince the shallot, garlic, and herbs and grate the cheese.

Once the water boils add the pasta and cook for one minute less than the package directions. 7-8 minutes for most dried pasta, 3-4 minutesfor fresh. Stir the pasta once or twice to prevent it from sticking together.

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While the pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic, shallot and crushed pepper over low heat, simmering it gently so it doesn’t brown.

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When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve one cup of the cooking water. Drain well and add pasta to the pan with the butter and garlic. Toss to coat with the butter.

Add about ¾ of the reserved pasta water. Spoon ¾ cup of the cheese over the pasta tossing with a pair of tongs to blend and melt the cheese.

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Add more cheese and moisten with additional pasta water to make a thick, creamy sauce. Season with several grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

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When the cheese has melted and coated the pasta, divide into two bowls, scraping the remaining sauce out of the pan, and top with the minced herbs and a grind of black pepper. Serve immediately. Pass more grated cheese with the pasta.

 

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This goes great with a crisp white wine and some crusty garlic bread. Enjoy

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