Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe

This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "Family Favorites" so since Max's favorite dinner is just a bowl of tuna, I figured I should go with one of mine. I have lot of "favorites" that I eat for dinner, but when I am tired, it has been a busy week and I really am not much in the mood to fuss with anything, I crave carbs, usually in the form of some kind of pasta with some type of cheese. It seems like I always have pasta in the pantry cupboard and good cheese in the fridge so I can whip up a simple, tasty dish in 15-20 minutes. I went with Nigella's version of Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe (or really just pasta with cheese and pepper), from her cookbook, Forever Summer (on page 40). Since I am madly running around getting ready for my Mom to visit this week, I was happy to have such an easy comfort food dish to enjoy.  


Nigella says, "This is another gloriously simple, intensely flavored pasta, best eaten quickly and hungrily under a warm sun though the deep heat of the pepper is gratifyingly warming on cold winter nights. I list pecorino cheese here rather than Parmesan, simply because, in the first instance, that's how I came across it (In Rome, many summers ago) and in the second, because I love its sharper, sourer edge. Sometimes, though, I use Parmesan I always have hanging about, with the zest of a lemon, or half of one, grated in alongside. You need the black pepper really quite coarsely ground here (though not quite so coarsely as to induce a coughing fit), so if you can't adjust your pepper mill, bash some peppercorns in a pestle and mortar instead." 


Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe
Forever Summer, Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4 as a starter; or 2 as a main course)

salt
10 ounces capellini
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
10 Tbsp freshly grated pecorino Romano
1 Tbsp black peppercorns coarsely ground

Put a panful of water on to boil for the pasta; once it's come to a boil, add salt then the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Just before you drain it, though, remove a coffee cupful of its cooking water.

So drain the pasta and add the butter to the hot pan and then tip in the capellini and toss well, dribbling in a tablespoonful or so of cooking liquid as you do so. Now add the grated pecorino and coarse black pepper and toss well in the residual heat of the pan--adding a little more pasta-cooking liquid if you need the lubrication--before tipping into warmed bowls.


Notes/Results: Perfect! Creamy and cheesy with a kick from the black pepper, this is a very simple and very delicious dish. You have to love such a low-effort recipe with big flavor results. I actually used a thick spaghetti rather than a capellini because it was what I had on hand, although I do like a slightly sturdier pasta like this when cheese is involved. Nice with a side salad or if it has been a tough week, just consume most of the bowl of pasta while sitting cross-legged on the couch, preferably without thinking any deep thoughts. ;-)

Max with his "Family Favorite
(He would look up, but that would require him to stop eating so he really can't be bothered with being polite) ;-)

In addition to it being my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs, I am also sending this dish to Presto Pasta Nights being hosted this week by Sara of imafoodblog. Check out the PPN round-up on her site on Friday. There are always so many wonderful pasta recipes to enjoy.


23 comments:

  1. Pasta is my go-to comfort food as well. I love the simple but flavourful noodley goodness. Pecorino is a great cheese, and generally costs a little less than Parm - Which means you can eat more!

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  2. ps - I love the title of this dish too. I just want to whisper it into peoples' ears and watch shivers go down their spine! ;-)

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  3. (LOL @ Natashya)....this is so easy and looks so comforting...I think it could become one of my favorites, too :D

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  4. Well you know how I feel about pasta. I love the simplicity of this. It seems like a great base to add some veggies onto but also perfectly tasty in and of itself.

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  5. Great dish - I love pasta...have never even seen that Nigella book you mentioned! Gotta run to the bookstore now.......

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  6. Just beautiful! I find the more simple the pasta the more I like it. Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is really popular here and though it seems rather plain I love how satisfying and robust the flavor can be.

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  7. This is something I could easily eat every week. Simple and delicious - great pick. Love the pic of Max and his tuna :D

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  8. Deb, such a simple yet delicious dinner for these oncoming cooler nights. I love pasta anyway I can get it, so I will definitely be trying this one.

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  9. I've made a similar dish many, many times - especially when there isn't much left in the fridge.

    Perfect!

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  10. Creamy and cheesey are just the words we like to hear!

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  11. You are too funny. Max has stolen my heart. Your pasta's not bad either. While I don't always love her recipes I love her skill as a writer. There are few who can beat her descriptions of the food she is eating or the place where it was found.

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  12. mmm...now thats my kinda dish. carbs....YUM!

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  13. Nothing beats butter and cheese on pasta unless it's more butter and cheese. I have grown up enough to use some pepper,though I buy a mixed peppercorn blend instead of black pepper, but I use it very sparingly. This looks really, really good and Max is a handsome fellow.

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  14. I head straight for the pasta too - when I've had a bad day or nothing else appeals to me. I love this - so simple but so delicious and comforting!

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  15. wow that does sound easy...may have to try this one soon!

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  16. Sounds like an excellent pasta dish! I love black pepper with pasta - it's a really delicious combo!

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  17. I'm with you ... something comforting and simple is great after a hectic day (or week)! Love your cat ... I have two ... double trouble.

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  18. I'm with you, I crave pasta when I'm tired and stressed, and I can't imagine a more perfect comforting pasta than this!

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  19. I am totally with you on the comfort carbs, sometimes there is nothing better than burying yourself in a huge bowl of pasta. This looks great, and thanks for sharing it with Presto Pasta Nights this week.

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  20. Ciao ! Cacio e pepe is my husband favorite ! I should try Nigella's version !

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  21. Simple and delicious...my kinda dish! Pasta is my fave when I want comfort food, too. This would fit the bill nicely :)

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  22. I can't believe it! I have been making this dish since I was about 13. I would make it when I was tired and hungry (just as you say). And I had no idea it was actually a known Italian pasta dish. I thought it was just my lazy pasta dish. Glad to know this now! :)))

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  23. Love Nigella, and I love this super easy, super tasty dish. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights...so what's up for next week? ;-)

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