It’s Child’s Play~

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe photo - Beyond the Pasta - Mark Leslie

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

On my most recent trip to Italy I stayed with the Stefanis (the family in my book) and learned a new and very simple recipe ~ Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.

This recipe is one of the hundreds of classic Italian dishes were you prepare the sauce for the pasta in the time it takes you to cook the pasta. And in this case – you don’t even need to “cook” the sauce. Nothing could be simpler than that, could it?

Cacio e Pepe is one of first dishes that Italian parents feed their children. Grated cheese is combined with salty pasta cooking water and extra virgin olive oil to create a simple cheese “sauce.” When prepared for children, black pepper (pepe) is not used and a little butter may be used instead of olive oil, but for adults, freshly ground black or white pepper is generously added for some spicy heat.

I hope its simplicity and ease will encourage you to take the “under 10-minute cooking time” to prepare this dish for yourself and your family, however you define that, and that it will “bring your family to the table.” That is where you will truly find food at its most satisfying and nourishing ~ for your body and soul. Bring your family to the table and change a life one meal at a time!

Watch my video and see how quick and easy it is~

Let’s start a food dialogue* about what is bringing your family to the table, how this recipe works for you and your discoveries about sitting down at a table together to eat.

Let me know if you have any questions about Italy, Italian food, or if you would like to see me video “demo” something special ~ cooking tips, a favorite Italian dish that you have been dying to make but feel like you need to see someone else “cook” his way through it – I’m up for anything.

I truly want us to start a dialogue and see where it takes us – just like the conversation around a dinner table. Who knows where it will go and what we’ll discover ~ together, like family.

Buon Appetito~ and bring your family to the table!

*Leave me a comment below and let’s start talking~

Here’s the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe recipe, written out:
This recipe is for 3 to 4 servings, if you’d like 6 to 8 serving, double it.

-8 ounces spaghetti
-1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
-1/3 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
-2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
-Pinch of salt
-2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
-Additional grated cheese for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a bowl. Once bowling, add 2 tablespoons salt to the water. Add 8 ounces (half a box – half a pound) of dried pasta (spaghetti) to the boiling, salted water. Stir, and cook following the directions on the box.

2. About 3 minutes before the pasta is done (al dente, tender but firm to the bite), in a large bowl, combine the grated cheeses with a ¼ cup of the boiling, salted pasta cooking water. Stir until the cheese has melted and formed a loose sauce. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and continue stirring until it is combined with the cheese/pasta water. Add 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of salt, and combine well.

3. Drain the pasta, DO NOT RINSE, and add it to the bowl. Mix until well combined with the cheese mixture. Stir in the flat-leaf parsley.

4. Serve immediately in bowls, and garnish with a little more grated pecorino, Grana Padano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

-Serves 3 to 4. Double the recipe to serve 6 to 8.