Samantha Irby Does Not Enjoy Thinking Too Deeply
Plus: One of Mark's favorite pastas, an all-out assault on Big Food, and tough but really good TV
She talks just like she writes, and I could not be happier about that. She’s wickedly smart and perceptive and her humor is exactly the kind of humor I like. Her fifth book, Quietly Hostile, an essay collection that includes topics like her obsession with Dave Matthews, writing for the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That, tracking down a brother she’d never met, and, yes, why she does not enjoy thinking too deeply (at least when it comes to pop culture).
I’m talking about our guest on Food with Mark Bittman today, Samantha Irby, and I’m thrilled to say I’m joined by my wonderful colleague, Holly, whom you all know. We talked for more than two hours; but don’t worry, we cut it down to 30 minutes for you. Enjoy these special ladies! Marksisms below. — Kate
This Week’s Marksisms
What’s Become of Rome?
I’ve been in Rome for a week now, which means I’ve got a lot of thoughts about the state of the city, its restaurants, and of course its pasta. I’ll be sharing all that tomorrow, but in the meantime—just to pique your interest—here’s a recipe for one of my favorite pastas.
Maccheroni alla San Giovanniello | Pasta with Whole Garlic Cloves
Makes: about 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
A deliciously strong pasta dish, taught to me (as were so many others) by my friend Andrea.
Salt and black pepper to taste
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1⁄2 cup cubes or strips of guanciale, prosciutto, other salted ham, or slab bacon
6 fresh plum tomatoes or 1½ cups canned (drained, liquid reserved)
1 pound cut pasta, such as ziti
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, or a combination
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and add salt. Combine the oil, garlic, and ham in a 10-inch skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes deep golden, nearly brown, all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Chop the plum tomatoes (or crush the canned tomatoes) and add them, along with some salt and pepper, to the skillet; stir and simmer while you cook the pasta.
3. Drain the pasta when it is done, reserving a little of the cooking water and adding it to the sauce if it appears dry (quite likely if you used fresh tomatoes). Toss the pasta with the sauce and most of the basil, along with the cheese. Mince the remaining basil, garnish the pasta, and serve.