Who’s got a cooking date night this weekend? Be it for family, friends, or even a casual date that (we hope it goes well), cooking up a nice plate of plate of pasta will not only fill the belly but it will put a smile on all. Rather than narrow it down today to one dish, we asked our friends at Food Republic to recommend us five pasta dishes that span a range of tastes, flavors, and cultural references. Who knew that streetwalkers in ancient Rome are thought to have invented Pasta Puttanesca Recipe?

See all five pasta dishes on the following page.

Roman-Style Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

“One dish that was always very popular in Rome and even had fans among the ecclesiasts is spaghetti alla carbonara. It is a very old dish that the carbonari (coal workers), who had to watch over the burning coal for a long time, made directly over the coal fire from what they could carry in their pouches: eggs, guanciale, pecorino and pasta. It is a very energetic dish thanks to the eggs and the meat and one must keep in mind that at that time poor people usually had only one meal a day so it had to be one that would sustain them in their hard work through the day.”

Fettuccine Alle Cipolle Recipe

“This recipe is so easy to prepare — adding in the wine and stock gives the lamb such a lovely flavor and the onions create a truly creamy texture. Even thinking about this dish makes my mouth water. In fact, I paused through writing this intro to make this very dish. Think roast lamb with fresh rosemary, sautéed onions, and a glass of wine. Imagine those flavors and now add pasta. Heaven.”

Bucatini Alla Matriciana Recipe

“This recipe will add to your repetoire of quick, but elegant, meals for family dinners or date-night occassions. Bucatini is a classic Italian comfort food that will keep everyone coming back for more. ”

Pasta Puttanesca Recipe

“If you don’t know the age-old tale of pasta puttanesca (our favorite rendition, at least), gather round. It’s said that Italian “streetwalkers” — of yore, of course — invented this dish for three reasons: 1. The busy ladies didn’t have time to go shopping and had to cook with basic kitchen staples 2. They weren’t allowed in the market anyway, and 3. The seductively salty, spicy and sweet fragrance of the sauce cooking would entice men into their houses. We proudly make this dish in honor of these gals who did us the greatest service of all: Instilling an undying love of anchovies.”

Roman-Style Rigatoni Alla Gricia Recipe

“Another dish you always find in Roman restaurants, besides spaghetti alla carbonara, is rigatoni alla gricia, which is the forefather of the more famous “Amatriciana” and is made with guanciale, pecorino romano and black pepper. There are different versions of its origins: some say it comes from Grisciano, a small town close to Amatrice bordering on the regions of Lazio, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo…”

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