Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pasta Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Cheese and Pepper)

If there’s a simpler Italian pasta sauce, I suppose it would be a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt. (And that would be good too.) But this dish, cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) comes in a close second. My research tells me that it truly is the simplest Roman pasta to make. Traditional ingredients are: pasta, pecorino romano cheese, freshly ground black pepper, and pasta water. The most common “extra” ingredient is butter, which I think helps add a little silky texture to the sauce.                 

While black pepper is the highlighted spice, I wanted to bring in a bit of herbal greenery, and fresh Italian parsley adds earthy flavor (and color) without getting in the way of the main ingredients.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sauce Ingredients
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until almost al dente, 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter, swirling to melt. Add the pepper and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  3. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. Add the drained pasta and remaining 1 tablespoon butter, tossing to combine.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese a little bit at a time, stirring and tossing until the cheese melts. Add the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water and parsley and cook until the sauce coats the pasta.
Pepper in Butter
Pasta Added
Cheese Added
Divide among 4 shallow bowls and serve right away.

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

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