Tuesday, May 20, 2014

cacio e pepe

We've been good with our green smoothies.
Lets eat some pasta, shall we?

Cacio e pepe, meaning "cheese and pepper" in Italian, is just that.
A simple pasta dish with the main ingredients of cheese and pepper.
It really doesn't get any easier.

This is a perfect meal for one of those I-don't-feel-like-cooking-tell-me-what-you-want-to-eat-I-give-up-lets-just-eat-popcorn nights {i.e. last night at our place}.
I was all set to oven-roast some BBQ chicken when I realized the fridge did not defrost my chicken as fast as I had expected.
After a few minutes of frantically pacing the kitchen looking at bag after bag of smoothie fruit, I remembered I had bought the ingredients for cacio e pepe!
Not the healthiest dinner, but I had put it on my grocery list for an occasion exactly like this.
You can't fight fate.

Also, when Joe and I can't agree on what we want for dinner, we have no problem agreeing on pasta.
Especially this one.

recipe adapted via Cup of Jo
Things you'll need:

1/2 box of linguine noodles {or spaghetti noodles; I personally prefer a thicker noodle, but either works fine!}
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp ground black pepper {I go heavy on the pepper; again, personal preference}
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and more for sprinkling

In a large pot, cook noodles according to package instructions.
Don't forget to salt the water!
Unsalted pasta water is total blasphemy.

While pasta is boiling, heat butter and oil on low-medium heat.
Add pepper and stir slowly, letting the pepper gently toast in the butter/oil mixture.
When you add the pepper, it will make the liquid bubble up and become a little noisy {pictured above}.
However, don't fret.
After a little stirring, it will calm down...

...and look more like this.
Brown and toasty and delicious.

When the pasta is done, drain it carefully, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
This step is crucial.
You need that delicious, starchy, salty pasta water to make the magic of the dish come together, trust me on this.
Turn the oil mixture to medium heat, and gently toss in the pasta to coat.
Add the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Stir until cheese is melted.
At this point, you can add more pasta water to make it the consistency you like.
I think I ended up adding almost the full cup here {I went for a creamier texture}.

Scoop into a bowl, sprinkle with an extra pinch of pepper, and top it off with some more Parmesan cheese.
Stir and enjoy!

The great thing about this dish, besides its simplicity, is that you can totally make just one serving.
When Joe is traveling, I always have a hard time finding dishes to make for one {that don't include avocado toast or a bowl of cereal}.
I found this recipe on Cup of Jo back in October and have since tweaked it to make closer to 4 servings, but when I'm home alone that's still my go-to recipe {except I always end up adding more pasta water and cheese...I can't help it!}.

Do you have any good one-serving recipes?
Or easy go-to meals for weeknights?

I need some inspiration these days.

How was your weekend?

Joe and I watched some dear friends of ours get married on Saturday {congratulations, Brittany and Brian!} and then spent our Sunday watching Game of Thrones on the couch together.
I'm sorry, is it just me, or does Game of Thrones have a habit of killing off the best characters?
I'm still not fully recovered from Drogo!
I only just started season 3, so I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for all the craziness coming up.

We'll see how that goes.

Oh and also, I officially became that obnoxious bride that has a t-shirt so that everyone will know she's a bride...

...I'll consider myself judged.

1 comment:

  1. Game of Thrones is always killing off the best characters!! It is so heartbreaking! But, it just makes more room for even more great characters!