A Simple Dish

I was quite lazy about grocery shopping this week. Or, in other words, I pantry shopped. That is, I made food out of what I was able to find in my pantry. One of the best dishes I made this week was cacio e pepe, a Roman dish that literally translates to “cheese and pepper.”

Image result for cacio e pepe
Example photo by The Real Italian Food.

Making it was quite simple. I’m not going to say mine was 100% authentic, but as I said previously, I made do with what I had from home.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta (a strong noodle like spaghetti preferably)
  • Cheese (traditionally pecorino romano; I used parmesan)
  • Black pepper (freshly ground)
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Begin heating a large pot of water for pasta. Do not include olive oil. Do not salt before it is boiling. Once the water is boiling, throw in a good amount of salt. My professor in Italy would instruct us to toss in “one fistful.”
  2. A few minutes before the pasta nears al dente (just underdone or “to the bite”), place a second pan over heat. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and begin toasting 1 tsp black pepper for 1 minute.
  3. Stir the pasta as it cooks to keep it from sticking. Add some of the pasta water (now starchy) to the oil/pepper pan, then add the pasta once it is al dente. Do not get rid of pasta water.
  4. Stir the pasta around the pan, adding more olive oil. Add a liberal amount of cheese so that it melts with the pasta as it is stirred around. Add extra pasta water as needed to produce a creamy sauce.
  5. Serve with extra cheese and fresh black pepper.
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