Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cacio e Pepe

I love cooking and eating Italian food.  Maybe it's because I have roots from there, but mostly because the food is so darn good!  Food to Italians is very important from preparing it with the freshest of ingredients to sitting down at the table and enjoying what was cooked.  They like to take their time and savor the food, there is no rush to go and do something else.  Also while sitting down over dinner they get the chance to talk, share stories, and bond with each other.  And as you know Italians LOVE to talk!!
I discovered this website a while back and have made a few recipes from it.  It has also given me some inspiration as well!  So while lounging around on New Years Day I wanted to make something simple but tasty - Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) was it.  This is one Roman dish I will make again which was fairly quick as well.  I didn't have any Cacio de Roma so I substituted Parmesan instead.  You could also just use Pecorino Romano if that's all you had.  I also added some shrimp to mine.

1 Pound Spaghetti 
4 tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
3⁄4 Cup Grated Parmesan
10-12 Shrimp

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the pepper and cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet with the oil, and then bring to a boil.  Be careful that the pan is not too hot because it will spray out when mixed with the oil (this happened to me).  Using tongs, transfer pasta to the skillet. Sprinkle 3⁄4 cup of the Pecorino Romano and Parmesan over the pasta. Toss the pasta with the cheese and oil mixture to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, adding some additional pasta water if necessary.  Serve hot and sprinkle over the remaining pecorino cheese adding some fresh cracked pepper if desired.
Cheap, simple and delicious!

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