My ideal diet is the All-Pasta Diet. This is a diet (or arguably a lifestyle) that consists of pasta for every meal of every day. It’s not great for a girl’s figure but it does wonders for her soul.
The best way to follow this diet is to prepare a batch of fresh pasta dough that you store in the fridge and slowly chip away at over the next few days. In the morning you roll out, cut, and boil wide, irregular noodles while the tea is steeping. Then you cover the pasta in honey and pecorino and black pepper and start your day with strength. In the evening you come home and pour yourself a drink and, depending on the kind of day you had, either take everything in your crisper and chop it up and sauté it all in butter until it breaks down into a sauce that you can throw on top of the thick, simple fettuccini you made while the sauce cooked…or you make a simple dumpling filling of cheese and greens and an egg and maybe a little finely chopped garlic and some nutmeg and you spend an hour rolling dough and forming dumplings with your hands until you’ve had a second drink and are ready to quickly boil them. In both cases, you get to marvel that you just made this most delicious meal and that you feel so good eating it.
And if you’d like a guidebook for this diet—we all need support in our life choices—then let me recommend Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone. Organized seasonally (would you expect anything else from Alice?) this book offers inspiration for every night of the week, including nights when you’re entertaining or picnicking or just trying to feed yourself a fortifying meal. Plus pizza and calzone recipes, for when you need to mix things up a bit. (Man cannot live on pasta alone, though I’m pretty sure woman can.)
Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone was published in 1984, and it shows—artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes abound—though not in any negative way. So think of some of these recipes as throwbacks, if you must. Because you must: Fettuccine with Broken Garlic and Peas; Spring Shallots, Red Onion, Leeks, and Pappardelle; Tuna with Olives, Lemon, Capers, and Tagliatelle; Radicchio, Pancetta, and Buckwheat Noodles; Salt Cod Ravioli in Fish Broth. If that’s dinner then who’s not happy?
“You really need only some conception of the possibilities and a little curiosity,” the authors write in their introduction. “Be receptive to variety and improvisation. We’ve given you some practical pasta and pizza survival techniques along the way, but our main intent is to share our enthusiasm and whimsy.” Words to live by.