Cacio e Pepe

Have you ever had, or made Cacio e Pepe? If not, you are missing out. Not only is it super easy to make during the week, but it is divine. Creamy, and peppery, this Roman dish with cheese, pasta, and black pepper. Lots of cheese and pepper. I was thinking, in particular of my wife and kids as they are pasta lovers. Me? If I am eating some type of pasta, I like it in Asian cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I will take down lots of Italian food, but I don’t crave it as much as my wife and kids do.

Cacio e Pepe Recipe
Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Let’s get started on this super simple recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuncine), chose one and cook before al dente
  • 1/4 cup of salt, more to taste
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of finely grated parmesan cheese, or pecorino romano (preferred)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 tbsp slightly course cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil to finish, optional

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the salt once boiling, then add in your pasta. Cook the pasta slightly before al dente, and then reserve a cup or so of the pasta water.

Next, have a skillet ready large enough to hold the pasta. Melt the butter, then add about a cup of the pasta water to the butter. Feel free to whisk this for a few seconds.

Cacio e Pepe Ingredients
Cacio e Pepe Ingredients

Add the cheese to the water and butter, and stir. Add a bit more water, maybe a quarter cup, and keep stirring. Add in the black pepper, and stir some more. Now add your pasta to the skillet.  Toss the pasta to evenly coat it with the cheese sauce.  If you see the pasta drying up a bit, add some more water. You want this pasta to be velvety, not lumpy.

Once you are satisfied, feel free to let it rain with more pepper and cheese and a good drizzle of olive oil.

This is one of those dishes my kids loved. It seemed like I blinked my eye and BOOM, gone. That’s always, always a great sign. Hope you enjoy!

Pasta with Peas and Mint

Lately my wife and I had to cut back the mint in our backyard. If you have never grown mint, be careful, especially if you are not planting in a pot. The mint literally will take over your yard, and this year it decided to not only take over its home where we planted many years ago, but it also decided to make its way into our raspberry bushes. As much as we love using mint for a variety of different recipes and teas, we are not a fan of it taking over our yard. That’s when I decided to take some things into my own hands and figured I would take a couple of handfuls of that mint and use it up in a dish I knew my entire family would enjoy. It’s pasta with peas and mint and it’s a good one.

Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe
Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fettuccine, or your favorite pasta cooked al dente
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta water, reserved
  • 1/2 cup of garlic scapes, blanched, or 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, packed
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste

Start by heating a large skillet, and on medium heat add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the cracked black pepper, blanched garlic scapes, and frozen peas. Add the pasta water, and stir, letting the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low, then add in the cooked pasta. Stir, making sure to coat all of the pasta.

Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe
Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe

Once the pasta is coated, add in the fresh mint, giving a good stir and toss, season with a touch of salt, then fold in the parmesan cheese.

Give another stir, then plate and serve. Season with a touch more parmesan cheese, and adjust the taste with any salt.

I was not surprised that my kids devoured this dish. The combination of mint and peas is a match made in heaven, and granted my vegetable hater (age) picked some of those peas out, he was still slurping those noodles, along with the mint. That’s a winner in my book. Hope you enjoy!