50-50 Buttered Noodles and Greens
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A creamy pasta dish is delicious in theory, but it’s gotta stick the landing, and that can be easier said than done. Gloppy, lumpy sauce? No thanks. This recipe for 50/50 buttered noodles and greens, from Ali Slagle’s new cookbook, I Dream of Dinner, offers a silky cream sauce without a drop heavy cream involved, and no gloppiness.
The secret is in the starchy pasta water. When combined with Parmesan cheese and butter, it creates a luscious sauce that clings to the noodles without turning gummy or clumpy. Congrats are in order—you just made Alfredo the Italian way.
Reprinted from I Dream of Dinner. Copyright © 2022 by Alexandra Slagle. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons butter
1 large bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (from 2 ounces)
1 pound long pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine
1. Bring a large pot halfway filled with salted water to a boil. Cut into 8 pieces and return it to the fridge. Thinly slice the broccoli rabe, leaving the blossoms whole.
2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. It may seem like a snug fit and that’s okay—you want extra-starchy pasta water. Two minutes before the pasta’s done, add the broccoli rabe. When the rabe and pasta are al dente, reserve 1 cup pasta water and then drain.
3. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high and add the butter. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides, the milk solids turn golden brown and it smells nutty and toasty, about 4 minutes.
4. Add the pasta and the Parmesan to the pot and toss until the cheese has melted. Add pasta water a little at a time until the noodles are coated in sauce, about 3 minutes (you won’t need all the pasta water). Season to taste with pepper and more Parm.