Monday, March 11, 2013

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe in Italy
One of my favorite meals that I had in Rome last summer was at a little place in Trastevere called Roma Sparita where I had cacio e pepe. Cacio e pepe is a very simple and delicious pasta of cheese and pepper. But Roma Sparita served it in BOWLS MADE OF PARMESAN CHEESE! Yes. Not only were you eating some amazing pasta, but you also got to eat the entire bowl. Now my attempts to recreate this are obviously not as good as the original because I am not spending tons of money on the same quality ingredients, but it is a fairly simple, yet gourmet dish that is a lot better than just spaghetti and meatballs. Serves 2.
6 oz (1/2 box) of a thin noodle like spaghetti
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 c grated Parmesan
1/4 c grated Pecorino 
(or you can just do 1c of a cheaper mixed pre-grated like me)
Recipe from The Yummy Life
1 bag (8oz) grated Parmesan cheese
2 bowls that fit together
Parchment paper
To make the bowls, check out Monica's awesome directions on The Yummy Life. Below are some of my own pictures:
parchment paper
Put the parchment paper on a large plate.
parmesan cheese
Spread out half the Parmesan cheese so that its bigger than the rim of the bowls you are using.
melting cheese
Microwave for 2 minutes until melty. 
making cheese bowl
Immediately put the cheese over bowl 1 and cover and press down with bowl 2. 
finished cheese bowl
After 10 seconds take off the top bowl and you're done!
1. Bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until about 1 minute to finish. Reserve 3/4 c of pasta water when finished. 
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in pepper, letting it toast for one minute. Add half of the pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add in the mostly cooked pasta and mix. 
3. Turn heat to low and start adding the pasta, 1/4 c at a time. If you add it all at once it doesn't melt properly and turns into giant cheese gobs. (Trust me, I know). If its too thick, add a little more pasta water.
4. Take off heat and continually stir pasta in sauce until smooth. Serve in parmesan bowls. 
cacio e pepe pasta

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