Cacio e pepe, for those who do not know is basically like a fancy Italian macaroni and cheese. (I may be making a huge generalization but just roll with me). If you are in the mood for a satisfying and surprisingly light pasta dish but you’re not feeling the red sauce, this is the dish for you.
Cacio e pepe quite literally translates to “cheese and pepper” because the basis of what this dish is is pasta, cheese and pepper. That’s it. BUT in my version, I decided to add a little color and put a twist on my Cacio e pepe by adding some fresh herbs. ‘Why alter such a classic recipe?’ you may ask, well I that is a great question! The thing I love about cooking is the ability to take something that is considered such a classic and alter it to make something new, exciting and more specifically your own.
Since we have had a random warm weather spell here in DC I was in the mood for a pasta that was (relatively) light and fresh.
What you need:
1 box of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine – anything long will work)
3 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp ground black pepper (you can always add more to taste)
2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (most recipes combine Parm & Pecorino but I only had Parm)
1/2 cup of pasta water
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil
1. Boil your pasta according to the instructions on the box.
2. While the pasta is boiling, grate your cheese and chop your herbs.
3. In a large pan, melt your butter and when the pasta is done take tongs and move the pasta from the pot to the pan DO NOT drain the pasta water.
4. With the tongs, swirl the pasta around in the butter. Add the pasta water to make sure your pasta doesn’t stick. Then add the cheese and pepper, and mix well. If your pasta is sticking, add a bit more pasta water and taste to make sure your pepper amount works for you.
5. For the last step add your fresh herbs and mix. Serve while hot and garnish with herbs!