Sauces and dishes that begin with an olive-oil base.

Oil-based, Primi

Orrechiette with cauliflower

This is another sauce in the olive oil and garlic family. It’s similar to a dish made with broccoli rabe, which is sort of a wild cousin to broccoli, but cauliflower is a bit denser and harder to overcook. In fact, it’s even better when it’s a bit caramelized.  Though orrechiette (little ears) is the […]

Oil-based, Primi

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is another wonderfully simple dish—but it’s also very easy to screw up. It used to be standard fare at any self-respecting Italian restaurant, but nowadays, it’s hard to find. That’s partly because it’s made with raw eggs, and our health inspectors probably make it hard to cook in the traditional way. But also, as […]

Oil-based, Primi, Tomato-based

Spaghetti Puttanesca

After college, I worked one summer in an Italian restaurant, earning enough money to take a trip to Europe. I had no experience, but the restaurant was new (in fact, it hadn’t even opened yet), and they needed bodies. Also, when I met the chef/owner, Pasquale, I spoke a bit of Italian with him (though […]

Oil-based, Primi

Orrechiette with Broccoli Rabe

This is another sauce in the olive oil and garlic family. Broccoli rabe (aka rapini) is sort of a wild cousin to broccoli, or a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It used to be hard to find, but now you can get it in any supermarket. I used to grow all three in my garden, […]

Oil-based, Primi

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti with clam sauce. If you can manage to make the basic spaghetti agli’olio, you can make this—it’s not much harder. I originally made this with clams in a can—and if that’s all you have, that’s fine. But it’s of course much better with fresh, whole clams. I made this when you kids were very […]