Simple Weeknight Meals: Fettuccine Alfredo and Grilled Eggplant with Basil Vinaigrette

Landon NordemanFettuccine Alfredo
A classic Italian pasta sauce of creamy butter and savory parmesan cheese, Alfredo is a virtually effortless crowd-pleaser.

1 lb. dried fettuccine
½ lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
½ lb. finely grated parmesan (about 3¼ cup)

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1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut butter into thin pats and transfer to a large, warmed platter. Drain pasta, reserving ¾ cup pasta water, and place the pasta over the butter on the platter.

3. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the pasta and drizzle with ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water.

4. Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more pasta water as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes. (For a quicker preparation, bring the reserved ¾ cup pasta water and the butter to a boil in a 12" skillet; then add the pasta, sprinkle with the cheese, and toss with tongs over medium-low heat until the pasta is creamy and coated, about 2 minutes.)

5. Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.

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Anna Stockwell Grilled Eggplant with Basil Vinaigrette
Sliced, grilled vegetables served in a simple marinade or vinaigrette are a beloved fixture at many Tuscan meals.

6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. salt-packed capers, soaked and drained
20 basil leaves
1 clove garlic
Kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggplants, halved
lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼"-thick pieces

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1. In a blender, purée 4 tbsp. oil, vinegar, capers, basil, and garlic and season with salt and pepper; transfer vinaigrette to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Put eggplants on a baking sheet, brush both sides with remaining oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Cook eggplant, flipping once, until slightly soft and browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer eggplant to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.