Millennial Wisdom: Cacio e Pepe

I’m about to hook you up with your new go to recipe. It’s made with things that very well may already be in your pantry. You’re on the go, you work hard, you wanna go out, I’m here for you and your lifestyle. I started #MillenialFriday with the hopes of talking with my fellow millennials about the things happening in our lives and helping where I can. I started to hopefully provide some insight and some guidance to the young, millennial spirit. Here is some sound advice. Learn to make this dish. We are stumbling into the foray of adulthood. It's important you learn how to cook a meal. Making a meal for someone is one of the nicest things you can do. OR make a meal for yourself, however you do it, it certainly won't hurt to pick up another skill.

Cacio e pepe is the easiest way you can impress someone with your culinary skills. It is literally Italian for cheese and pepper. It’s that simple. It’s carbs and cheese, which is quite possibly the greatest combination in the food world. Chips and queso is the Mexican version. Brie and a baguette is the French version. This is the Italian version. Italians are stewards of indulgence, so pop the prosecco, or make a Negroni. Give yourself some culture. And make the perfect pasta dish. 

This dish so versatile. You can make it on a quiet night in. You can make it as a late night snack after a long night out. First, it’s so cheap. Not to be hyperbolic, but I think this costs about $1.30 a serving. And it’s a favorite of the father of the “cool chef” movement and official drunk uncle of #MillenialFriday, Anthony Bourdain. 

It’s noodles, cheese, and pepper. Think of it as Italian mac n cheese. There isn’t a scenario this dish doesn’t work. It’s simple, it’s fancy, you can toss it together quickly, and it makes you look like you know what you’re doing. After you go out with your friends and you’re on your best behavior and you forgo drunk food, but then you get home and want to order Domino’s but know you’ll fall asleep before the hour forty-five it takes to get there, make this. 

Fellas, when you’ve been on four or five dates with someone and you decide you want to hang out at your place for a relaxing night, make this for your significant other. Cooking together is very intimate and very cute. I mean, so cute. You can do the whole, throw the pasta at the wall to see if it sticks, to see if it’s done cooking thing, but very flirtatiously toss pasta at each other. Wear matching aprons for all I care. Ugh, so jealous of you two. Ladies, you’ve been crushing it at the office lately, proud of you! But those hours seem to be getting later and later.  So pick up some Trader Joe wine, toss on the sweats, and fix this up. It takes 15 minutes. Pour a glass while you make it. Pour a glass while you eat it. Give in and finish the remaining half bottle while you finish your most recent Netflix binge. 

Some people find this confusing to make because there are no measurements. I get it, but that isn’t confusion. That is freedom. You literally cannot fuck this up. If you add pepper and you add cheese, then you succeeded. How good does that feel? The recipe is below. Make it and enjoy. 

Here’s what you need:

Spaghetti

Butter

Cheese (parmesan or percorino

Pepper

THATS IT!

Here’s what you do.

  1.  Boil spaghetti noodles in a pot

  2. In a separate pan, put a big pat of butter and a ton of pepper. You want to heat this until the pepper starts cracking and the butter is melted. This infuses the butter with pepper to get flavor throughout. 

  3. Once your pasta is done, strain it. But don’t dump out all of the water. Save some pasta water. 

  4. Add leftover pasta water to butter/pepper mix. The starchy pasta water mixes with the butter and pepper and (later) the cheese. This creates a velvety sauce that is so delish. 

  5. Add your noodles to the pan and stir (at this point you’re on a low heat)

  6. Throw on some more butter. Keep stiring. 

  7. Throw on either parmesan or pecorino cheese. Go crazy. Use both. 

If at any point the pasta looks dry, add a touch more of water. Add more cheese if you like it super cheesy. This is your world. 

Enjoy.