Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Smoky, toasted peppercorns are the only way I use pepper now! And pasta cacio e pepe... well it's pasta, olive oil, cheese, pepper, what's not to love?!

Toasted Peppercorns
makes: 1/2 cup

- 1/2 cup good quality black peppercorns (Tellicherry or such) 
- pan that can hold the peppercorns in 1 layer (I use a cast-iron skillet)

1. Put the peppercorns in the pan and turn on the heat to medium-low to toast.
2. Toss or stir occasionally until the peppercorns are fragrant.
3. When you smell the aroma, turn off the heat
4. Immediately remove the peppercorns into a bowl - they will continue to toast and then burn if you leave them in the hot pan.
5. Let the peppercorns cool completely and store in a jar.

Cacio e Pepe
makes: 2 servings

- 1/4 lb. pasta of choice (I used spaghetti this time; I don't use whole wheat pasta) 
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 cup good Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, finely grated
- 1 tsp. toasted pepper, coarsely ground

1. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Add the pasta and boil until al dente, turn off the heat.
3. Heat olive oil in a pan, add a generous 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground toasted pepper.
4. Using tongs, remove the pasta from the water and add to the pan.
5. Swirl the pasta to coat with olive oil and pepper.
6. Turn off the heat.
7. Add the grated cheese immediately and swirl until the cheese coats the pasta.
8. Serve with additional cheese and pepper to taste. Here I've served it with roasted mushrooms, green beans, and brussels sprouts.

1. 1/4 lb. pasta (long shapes like spaghetti, naturally you can't measure short pasta this way!) is a bunch approximately 1 inch in diameter.
2. Make an approximately 1 inch circle with your index finger and thumb. Whatever fits in the circle is roughly 2 servings.

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