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:

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

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!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

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! ;-)

girlichef said...

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

Joanne said...

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.

Pierce said...

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

Lori said...

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.

Kim said...

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

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

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.

Megan said...

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

Perfect!

The Duo Dishes said...

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

Mary said...

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.

Danielle said...

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

ARLENE said...

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.

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

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!

K and S said...

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

5 Star Foodie said...

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

Debbie (debbmarie) said...

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

Pam said...

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!

Sara said...

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.

natalia said...

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

Shelly W said...

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

TasteMyPlate said...

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! :)))

Ruth Daniels said...

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? ;-)