Every day that's gone by since I turned the last page of The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth and final of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, has been a day I've lamented having finished the books. I've missed the friendship of Lenù and Lila as feverishly as they formed it. Accordingly, I've been biding my time re-reading the novels, trawling the internet for details of Elena Ferrante's true identity (which is fiercely guarded), and living out elaborate daydreams about trips to Naples wherein I'm suddenly fluent in Italian and look very elegant in a piazza.
But before I had to seriously consider using my 306 painstakingly collected airline miles (aka $31 in credits, rounding up) to make those daydreams a reality, the universe HBO stepped in and announced they'd be adapting the first book of the series as a television show. And after what feels like an eternity, the premiere date (this Sunday, Nov. 18, at 9 p.m.) is finally here. This might be the surprise snowstorm we got this week in New York talking, but I can't think of a better way to supplement a watch party than with a giant bowl of cheesy, buttery pasta. Especially because by "watch party," I technically mean just me, watching the premiere alone, wearing oversized pajamas.
Full disclosure: many of the following recipes—my top pasta contenders—are in no way traditional Neapolitan fare. In fact, pizza would probably a closer choice if one were striving for authenticity. But I have a feeling Lila would support this irreverent approach. Shall we?
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.