Cacio e Pepe – a carb lovers dream…a dieters nightmare!

15 Aug

My name is Heather and I am a carbaholic. There. I said it. I feel so free now! Not really. It’s not like I hide my love for all things carb related. If there is a bread basket on the table, i’m eating at least 2 pieces slathered in butter before dinner arrives. If it’s a pasta dish, I always eat just one more bite after I feel full because if it’s good, I know I shouldn’t finish it because i’ll be so full i’ll hate myself, but I WANT to finish it. A quick way for me to lose 10lbs would be to stop eating so many carbs. But it would not be enjoyable at all so….

Now onto Cacio e Pepe – this is a roman pasta dish, and it’s so simple to make but tastes so decadent and rich that you’ll want to eat the whole pound yourself. The recipe I made is a variation among variations – mine is just a variation of the cheeses. Traditionally it’s Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma. Well I had parmesan and smoked cheddar. So it worked out wonderfully – the smoked cheese gave it a nice deep taste. I served it with some poached and pan seared chicken sliced up thinly to get some added benefits and it was delicious. I had to stop myself from eating it because I was so full but it was SO GOOD! I used homemade egg pasta that I had whipped up a huge batch of last month and froze into pasta nests uncooked for later use. You can use plain old boxed pasta, but it seems kind of a waste to me. The egg pasta just made it super perfect. I’ve included the recipe for fresh pasta below which is very simple to make.

Enjoy!

Cacio e Pepe

Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. pasta, preferably homemade egg pasta
4 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more
to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup smoked cheddar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water

Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; if using fresh cook for 2 minutes (if pasta is frozen, cook for up to 5 minutes). If using boxed pasta, cook as directed until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle 1 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly. Sprinkle the cheeses over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary.

Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with extra cheese and more pepper.

Note: serve with cooked chicken or shrimp for a more complete meal if desired.

Homemade Pasta

It’s this simple – 2 eggs for every cup of flour. So to make the above pasta dish, you’d want to make 4 rounds of this (8 eggs + 4 cups of flour).

What I do is mix it up in my little food processor. My hands stay pretty clean and it does all the dirty work for me. The traditional method is to put out a cup of flour, make a well in the center and add the eggs. Mix with your hands until it’s all combined and then knead it until it’s smooth and shiny. Let rest for 10 minutes, roll it out and slice it.

Here’s what I do:

add eggs and flour to food processor, run it until it’s all combined. plop pasta ball onto the floured counter and knead it till it’s smooth and let it rest.

I then run it through my pasta roller twice to the desired thickness, then run it through the pasta slicer. Add this to boiling SALTED water for 2 minutes and voila.

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