cacio e pepe
This is one of my favorite meals because (1) there is no better comfort food than pasta, (2) it is done in less than 15 minutes, and (3) I know I always have all of the ingredients in my pantry and fridge.
Cacio e pepe, or “cheese and pepper,” is an old Roman dish. Traditionally, the sauce is made with just three ingredients – pasta water, Parmesan and pepper.
Disclosure: I like adding a bit of butter and olive oil for creaminess. Purists would balk, but its my dinner so I don’t care.
Cacio e Pepe
1/2 lb. pasta
1 c. pasta water
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Then drain the pasta and set aside. Do not rinse the cooked pasta.
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the olive oil and pepper. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the pepper is toasty and the butter starts to brown. Add about 1/2 c. of the reserved pasta water and whisk to combine. Add the pasta and stir it in the butter sauce until it is coated. Add the grated Parmesan and salt, then stir to combine. If you would like to thin the sauce at all, add a bit more of the reserved pasta water. Serve with the additional grated Parmesan on top.