Friday, August 12, 2011

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe. I know it sounds like a kids show. Cacio is a mouse and Pepe is a frog and together they get into mischief and learn about friendship along the way. Can you tell Parker is now almost one (can you believe it!) and will watch cartoons for 10 minutes?

K, for real, we're talking pasta here. The easiest and most delicious pasta that you can make in the time the pasta cooks. This is for those days when you don't know what to make for dinner so you stare at the fridge, freezer, pantry, fridge, freezer, pantry, and then just end up eating a frozen Jamaican patty. Make this instead. Cacio e Pepe. Pasta with Black Pepper. It is so much more than the sum of it's parts.

One Year Ago (I'm a little behind on this): 

Serves 2, recipe is easily doubled
Inspired by this recipe in Bon Appetit, I like my modified version better. Read through their article on How to Make Perfect Pasta. It will be a revelation.
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) dried penne
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (from a block of cheese- don't use the stuff that comes in a container)
Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions, or until just a little more than al dente (firm) than you would eat it. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Continue to cook butter until foaming subsides and butter is lightly browned and smells nutty. Add pepper, saute for 30 seconds. 

Reduce heat to medium. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Add cheese and pasta to pan, toss pasta for 1 minute to coat and finish cooking pasta. 

Turn off heat and cover pan for 1 minute- this allows the sauce to thicken and everything to come together. If sauce is too thick and isn't coating pasta nicely add more pasta water a little at a time. Serve immediately.

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