Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Stirring Stuff!

Spaghetti, Cacio, Pepe & Fave
Spaghetti, Cheese, Pepper & Fava Beans


Cacio e pepe, an absolute classic Italian dish and proof, if ever anybody needed it, that the beauty of Italian cuisine lies in its simplicity!

And you can hardly get any more simple than this!

Having said that, the classic version of cacio e pepe, relies on just 3 ingredients (4 if you count the water!), of pasta, black pepper and cheese... and I went a little overboard here and added an ingredient... Don't hate me for being so decadent!!!

Once you have made cacio e pepe, once you have "mastered" it's simple method, you will never panic at the thought of having nothing in the house to eat... Because you will always be able to make this and enjoy something truly delicious, rather than resorting to something infinitely more desperate!


Ok, there you have it folks... Pasta, pepper and cheese. Traditionally Pecorino, but Parmesan, Grana or any other hard, grating cheese you may prefer will be fine. And yes, in addition, a couple of handfuls of fresh fave beans... They are sweet, they are delicious and they are in season! So... Why not?!!


So rich and creamy tasting... without cream, without oil or without butter... That's the beauty of this dish, and it is so easy to do... Scroll on my friends and I will show you how!


Start boiling your water for your pasta as you would normally do and in the meantime, she'll the beans and remove the tough, inner skin so that you have only the sweet, tender "hearts" for your dish. Yes, it's a little bit of work and a little fiddly... But the beans taste soooo much better if you do!

Once the water has come up to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and stir it in. Let it boil for 3 minutes and in the meantime, grate your Pecorino or cheese of choice, ready to add in just a few minutes.


After the spaghetti has boiled for 3 minutes, add the fa a beans and let them simmer on for 3 minutes more.


Once the pasta is nearly "al dente", transfer it to a pan, but make sure not to pour that water down the sink! You need that to turn these simple ingredients into something special!

But first, add plenty of pepper and grated cheese to the spaghetti and then add a ladleful of water or two and then stir everything together. The cheese will of course melt and the added water, with the starch that the noodles have given off during cooking, will begin to amalgamate into a nice, rich dressing. Keep stirring and keep adding pepper, cheese and water a little at a time as you go.


Here you can clearly see how the cheese has melted into the water and is becoming a smooth, rich dressing for the pasta. Keep stirring until all of the water /cheese has reduced down and become absorbed by the spaghetti... and then serve with no further ado!


It's as sublimely delicious as it is simple... Those rich cheeses have so much flavor that you need nothing more than the accent provided by the black pepper to satisfy in a profound way... Just try it!

Stir it all together... And enjoy!

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