I love pasta. I could (and sometimes do) eat it every damn day. Who doesn't love pasta? If you say you don't, you're lying or you're crazy. Pasta is amazing. Carb-infatuation aside, sometimes the good ole noodles can be a heavier and therefore undesirable meal, especially on hot summer days. Don't get me wrong, I could take down a lasagna, no questions asked, even on a 95-degree day, but my husband disagrees and isn't having it. In fact, his non-obsession with pasta was almost a deal breaker when he proposed. JK! But we do argue about pasta sometimes. 

I found these two pasta recipes on Panna, a cooking app that features a collection of recipes from top chefs around the world. Both are super easy to make, super light on the sauce, and likely include ingredients you already have in your house. They are even approved by my non-pasta enthusiast husband. P.S. - who knew the secret was pasta water? NOT I! 

P.P.S. Panna is a paid app, but these two recipes are included as some their "freebies." 

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe


By Tony Mantuano


Salt for pasta water

5 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 Tbsp Freshly ground black pepper (about 30 turns of the pepper mill)

1 lb spaghetti, bronze-cut

8 oz Pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving


Cook the pasta and prepare the dish: Bring a large pot of water to boil; then add two large pinches of salt. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the black pepper and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes less than what the box advises. Grate the cheese and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, pour remaining olive oil into a serving dish large enough to hold and toss the pasta. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water: add 1 cup to the pepper-olive oil mixture, and put aside the other cup. Pour about a quarter of the pepper-olive oil-water mixture into the serving dish (to temper the dish).

Assemble the dish: When the pasta is firm to the bite, drain the pasta and add it directly to the serving dish. Add the rest of the pepper-olive oil-water mixture to the pasta. Stir vigorously (and he means VIGOROUSLY) with two forks so the black pepper is evenly distributed and the pasta has a chance to absorb the water; then, add half the cheese and continue tossing and stirring. The more you mix, the creamier it gets. Once the cheese has been integrated, add the remaining cheese and continue tossing until the sauce is thick and creamy and the noodles are coated evenly, another minute. (If, at any point, the sauce seizes up, simply add a touch more reserved pasta water to loosen it up.) Transfer to individual dishes, sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano, and serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil (Aglio e Olio)


By Tony Mantuano


Kosher salt

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 Small dried chiles, roughly chopped (I use red pepper flakes) 

1/2 C Roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (this can be substituted for dried parsley flakes) 

1 lb Linguine, bronze cut

Freshly ground black pepper


Pasta and sauce: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, and add the olive oil, garlic, and dried chiles (flakes). Sauté until garlic is very lightly brown, 4–5 minutes. Finish the sauce by turning heat to low and adding the chopped parsley and 8–10 grinds of black pepper. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti: When the water is boiling, add 2 large pinches of salt, then add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, about 3 minutes less than what the box advises, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t clump. Reserve ¾ cup pasta water.

Assembly: Drain the pasta, then return to the pot. Pour reserved pasta water and sauce into the pot. Cook over low heat, gently tossing the pasta with the sauce for 1–2 minutes to allow it to “marry”—or absorb—the sauce. The pasta should be firm to the bite. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer to a platter or bowl and serve immediately.

Allie Mann