cacio e pepe
How are we doing? I am doing alright. This is the part where I say OMG I've been so busy I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted blah blah blah.. and all of this is true. Life has been ramping up busy-ness wise for the last couple of years, which is great! except I am the kind of person that needs to lie huddled in bed with a cup of tea and process every single thing that happens to me for at least a month, and since unfortunately that's just not really possible in our modern times, it makes me feel like life is a giant water slide and I'm blasting through trying desperately to hang on to something long enough to figure out what's going on. OK, OK. Maybe this is a touch over dramatic (me? Over dramatic? What a shock). Things are going great, it's just a lot and I feel a bit overwhelmed, especially since it's also winter which is a tough time for me to keep my energy up. There, a more toned down explanation. Are you happy??
ANYway. Luckily for me, for you, and for all of us, this is the perfect recipe for when you're feeling overwhelmed. If you are a Cheese Hoarder like myself, chances are you already have all the ingredients you need to make this dish immediately. It has an excellent Cheese-o-Meter rating which in case you were wondering is the scale on which I rate all food (to be clear: more cheese=better). I discovered this dish as I was cooking my way through Jessica Battilana's beautiful cookbook, Repertoire. I recently wrote a review of this glorious book as part of Food 52's Piglet Community Picks. Go give it a read! Then come on back and make the dish. I made just a couple of tweaks such as using whole wheat spaghetti (cuz that's just my deal) and topping the dish with even more cheese (cuz in case you missed it, more cheese=better). So enjoy, my dears!
Yours In Cheese,
cacio e pepe
adapted from Repertoire, by Jessica Battilana
12 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti (or spaghetti of your choice)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
30 grinds black pepper
1 cup finely grated parm, plus more to serve
2/3 finely grated pecorino, plus more to serve
Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water. Salt liberally (it should taste like the sea) and bring to a boil. Add your spaghetti and cook to al dente (times vary, see package instructions).
Meanwhile, place a large heavy skillet (such as cast iron) on the burner next to the pasta pot. Turn the heat to medium and add the butter. When melted, grind in the pepper. Let cook about 1 minute, then turn off heat. When the pasta is al dente, use tongs or a spider strainer to transfer the noodles into the pan. DO NOT dump the pasta water. You will need it handy as you finish the dish. Turn the heat under the skillet to low (you can turn off the heat under the pasta pot). Add the parm and ½ a cup of pasta water to the pan and toss the pasta continuously until cheese melts. Keep the noodles moving so the cheese doesn't clump and fall to the bottom-- if it does, add a touch more pasta water and keep tossing to incorporate everything evenly. Add pasta water as needed to create a beautiful, creamy, cheesy sauce that coats your spaghetti. Turn off the heat, add the pecorino, and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving dish or individual bowls, top with a sprinkle of cheese and a good grind of black pepper, and serve immediately. Pass even more cheese at the table, you really can't add too much.