My Spaghetti Salami e Pepe is the 2nd in a 3 part series using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – @theonlyparmesan. The first recipe was a Roman classic Pasta e Pepe. This pasta is a simple recipe flavored only with cheese and plenty of black pepper. I changed the recipe up by using gluten free noodles. I do not believe anyone can tell the difference. My salami recipe is a a slight variaton on the e Pepe classic with the addition of the salami and spinach. I love the spice the salami adds to the recipe and the color from the addition of the spinach.
If you are going to use the salami, then you need to go all the way. The salami is sautéed in the skillet with some oil. Then, the spinach is added. In so doing, the full flavor of the salami gets infused into the dish. Browning the salami in the skillet is just like adding pancetta. Many a pasta dish begins with the rendering of the pancetta to bring a smoky flavor to the recipe. Salami is a wonderful substitute for this same concept. I do not eat pork so I have to search for other ingredients that can mimic what the pancetta does. There is no perfect substitute. That is for sure but if you, too, do not eat pork, using salami is a very close 2nd.
What I have learned making these two pasta dishes using the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is that the cheese is very strong. I do not mean strong smell wise. I mean the flavor is robust. You do not need to use a lot to get the essence of the cheese. I am guessing that this fact is a very positive attribute of the cheese. I will play with this concept some more in my third recipe attempting to appreciate the finer attributes of the cheese. Oh! If you want your pasta recipe to be authentic, it is worth the cost to buy “real” Parmigiano-Reggiano. Since one does not need to use a lot of it, it really will not be too expensive.
The cast of characters.
The sautéing of the salami, and then, the addition of the spinach and garlic.
The spaghetti added to the salami and spinach to infuse the flavors through the pasta.
The Spaghetti Salami e Pepe plated.
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 2 – 4 ounces Parmigiano Regiano cheese, finely grated on the smallest holes of a box grater, plus more for serving
- 3 – 4 ounces Kosher beef salami
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 12 ounces of fresh spinach
- Using a double boiler, boil water and cook spaghetti per the box instructions minus 1 minute of cooking time. Drain spaghetti reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the salami and cook until slightly crisp.
- Next add the spinach and garlic and cook until wilted.
- Now add the pepper and mix well.
- Pour the spaghetti and transfer it to the skillet.
- Add in the cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
- Add a cup of the pasta water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet to thicken the sauce. The sauce will become creamy and coat the spaghetti. (You can add a tablespoon or two of butter if you like).
- Season to taste with salt and more black pepper.
- Serve immediately, topping with a little more grated cheese and black pepper at the table.
- I do not eat pork so you can certainly substitute an Italian salami to retain the full authenticity of this dish.
- The pasta is cooked 1 minute less than the normal cooking time because it will finish cooking in the skillet.