glorified buttered noodles of our childhoods.
who doesn’t love a buttery noodle? lol. i always liked red sauce as a kid, so when i saw friends who didn’t like red sauce on spaghetti putting butter on their noodles i was like oooooooh. butterrrrr. cool.
cacio e pepe is such a delicious, simple yet elevated pasta dish you can put together in about 15 minutes.
the purists don’t use any onion but i used minced cipollini onion in the skillet to pep it up a notch. garlic would also be amazing obviously, but i tried not to stray too far from the traditional basic ingredients.
don’t forget to reserve a cup of the pasta water after cooking the noodles. this step is key!
when i usually make spaghetti i just toss it with olive oil at the end to keep the noodles from sticking and immediately add red sauce. but if you don’t intend to use pasta sauce, you must reserve some pasta water and toss it with the cooked noodles in a cast iron pan (ideally, cast iron) to keep the noodles smooth and not clumped together. then melt in that cheeeesey goodness and dinna is served.
and extra black pepper and red pepper flakes for me! and a spot of vino, of course.
gimme that wintery pile of comfort.
Cipollini Onion Cacio e Pepe
Total Time: 15 minutes
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit
6 ounces bucatini or spaghetti noodles
3 TB. unsalted butter
1 cipollini onion, minced
2 - 3 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup shaved parmesan & romano cheese (I found a shaved blend of these cheeses at the store)
crushed red chili flakes
Boil 6 cups of water in a medium pot with a big pinch of salt. Once boiling, add the dry noodles and cook 7 or 8 minutes (or to 2 minutes before noodles are actually tender). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before straining the noodles.
Mince the cipollini onion. In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 TB of unsalted butter on medium heat and add the onion and 2 tsp. of black pepper. Toss until onions are tender and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir. Bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and remaining TB of butter to the cast iron pan and toss with tongs to coat the noodles with moisture.
Reduce heat to low and add 1/2 cup of the shaved parmesan cheese, tossing with tongs to melt. Add 1/4 cup of water if the noodles seem dry or sticky. You want the pasta water and cheese to coat the noodles and be smooth.
Add remaining cheese and toss to melt. To me, this part resembles the sticky marshmallow texture when you make rice krispy treats on the stove. Toss with extra black pepper and a pinch of salt if desired.
Serve immediately with crushed red chili flakes, extra shaved parmesan or romano cheese, and basil, if desired.