Discover more from Gillian Knows Best
Gillian Knows Best Pasta Guide
A collection of long reads, recipes and pasta resources
Since I moved to Italy pasta has become kind of like water or oxygen. It is both just there and an absolute necessity. In the first years of living in Rome, I didn’t cook much pasta. It was on the lunch menu every single day at Noah’s very fancy, very Italian school and he was not wild about it. Now the first thing he asks for as soon as he lands after the long flight from California is Amatriciana and our family’s sausage pasta.
To receive new posts and support my work, please subscribe 🥰
“Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone” - Big Night
Dry vs Fresh
A common misconception is that fresh pasta1 is better than dried pasta. The reality is they are just different. What is important is that certain sauces belong with certain pasta. Part of the spaghetti alle vongole experience is twirling the long thin stripes of spaghetti that are glossy with that briney sauce. I love carbonara and amatriciana made with a short pasta like rigatoni or mezze maniche so that the crispy chunks of guanciale wiggle inside.
This is not a list of my favorite restaurants. Instead, I have collected some of my favorite pasta resources for you. Tell me your favorite pasta dish in the comments.
Read about Pasta
There are hundreds of pasta-specific cookbooks. These are the ones that I actually cook from.
Serious Eats pasta guide has recipes, deep dives into how salty your cooking water should be, and the best way to grate cheese.writes about pasta as resistance. talks about pasta mista and shares some pasta salad recipes. talks about losing her taste for pasta.
This is my Rome pasta guide. These are the pasta brands and tools and books I use. In Rome, I buy fresh pasta from Pippo in Monti and Casoli in Pigneto. In Venice, I go here. In Rome, I shop for pasta-making supplies like ravioli presses, rolling pins, and chitarra boxes at C.U.C.I.N.A. and Peroni. In Venice, La Beppa is not a kitchen store per se but it probably has what you are looking for. La Domus supplies both restaurants and Venetian home kitchens and Ratti has a vast selection of housewares, including pasta tools.
Pasta recipes I love
I always have the ingredients for‘s once viral pasta dish in my pantry. It’s great with breadcrumbs tossed and toasted in olive oil, garlic powder and oregano spinkled on top.
This recipe is pretty close to the beloved sausage pasta that I cook for birthdays and jet lag. I make it with short pasta and I don’t add wine or basil. I use wild fennel pollen that I buy at Castroni or from Emporio Delle Spezie in Testaccio. You can find it online in the US at The Spice House.
If I am feeling homesick for Rome I watch a few of these Instagram videos.
Pici all’Aglione is a favorite Tuscan dish. Giulia Scarpaleggia who writeshas a fab recipe.
Breakfast pasta really should be a thing.has an entire pasta & sauce section in her newsletter.
Pasta adjacent content
I have wanted a tiny gold rigatoni necklace forever.
I love my giovedi gnocchi plates from Flakes in Trastevere. They ship worldwide.
Make my favorite dish from Capri at home.
My pal Heather has an Etsy shop with lots of pasta-themed gifts.
Pasta Girlfriend is a delightful Instagram account