Cacio e Pepe

by Rebekahcooked up on January 7, 2013

Well, we’re back to work, and I am happy to say I feel well-prepared for the week ahead. Lunches are made ahead of time. Dinner is already planned and partially prepped for tomorrow night. And tonight? Tonight we gave pasta night a little more elegance.

Cacio e Pepe - Simple cheese and black pepper pasta from PDXfoodlove

This simple pasta dish is quickly becoming one of my favorite weeknight dinners. Sure, we could pile a bunch of things onto noodles – sometimes that is my favorite thing to do. But other times, like today, I’ll use “quick weeknight dinner” as an excuse to to savor the taste of Parmesan and pepper on their own.

Eating this dish is more contemplative than making it – by which I mean you can spend a short amount of time making it, and a long time savoring your masterpiece. Kind of a “stop and smell the roses” kind of thing. Just with pepper and Parmesan. An improvement, if you ask me. 🙂

We served it with a massive salad with homemade ranch dressing. Perfect.

Here’s what you need for two light entrees. Serve with a large salad.

  • 5 oz. long pasta (reserve the pasta water!)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh! I don’t recommend the pre-jarred stuff, and I’m not sure it would even work for this)
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • Black pepper

Cook your pasta to al dente, and save about a half cup of water. In the meantime, melt half of the butter in a skillet.

When the butter is melted, add the pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, add the second half of the butter and the pasta. Toss to coat and let the sauce reduce by about half.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cheese in as you toss/stir the pasta. It’s important to not let it sit in any one place too long so it melts evenly and doesn’t clump. Season heavily with black pepper.

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