Special Sauce: Mark Ladner on Cooking Pasta in 10 Seconds Flat

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[Photograph: Ken Goodman. Pasta, salad, and garlic dots photograph: Beth Galton]

Last week, I promised that you'd get to hear why Mark Ladner decided to walk away from Del Posto, which was awarded four stars by the New York Times, to open a fast-casual pasta joint, and this week I make good on that promise.

In this week's episode, Ladner and I discuss how he came up with the idea for his start-up, Pasta Flyer, and the challenges specific to figuring out how to make a good pasta that cooks up fast. He also reflects on how the experience is a kind of culmination of all the work he's done and everything he's been through in his life to date, from his first cooking jobs in the 1980s to working for Mario Batali, and how he considers his long and successful career in fine dining "a detour." As Ladner says, "I don't know how I necessarily got here, but this is what I was supposed to do."

But there's more (as there always is on Special Sauce): Ladner lets us in on the answers to some last-supper questions—who'd be invited, what they'd have—and the surprising dish he cooks up for himself after a long day slinging pasta.

Special Sauce is available on iTunes. You can also find the archive of all our episodes here on Serious Eats and on this RSS feed.

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