Thursday, November 18, 2010

Right Off The Plane

"I'm glad you're back," James said with a smile in his voice. "Now come home and make me lunch!"
A food from nothing challenge right over the cel phone.
I quickly scanned what might be in our surely bare (I have been gone for almost two weeks now) larder and told James to put a pot of water on to boil. I remembered a large chunk of pecorino cheese -- much larger than I wanted but when it was sliced and bigger than I expected I was too embarrassed to ask the cheese monger to cut it again, so I was sure there would be some left. We always have some dried pasta and and since on the plane I had been reading about Roman cuisine being the Italian style of the moment I planned a quick Cacio E Pepe. The original 5 ingredient marvel -- spaghetti, grated pecorino cheese, cracked black pepper (I cheat use a little crushed red too), a dash of olive oil (optional), and water from the cooked pasta.
Return the drained pasta to the cooking pot and add a large (a cup or so to a pound) of grated pecorino, about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, a good quantity of cracked black pepper
(a heavy TB) to taste, a pinch of crushed red peppers, and stir vigorously until the cheese and water bind into a nearly creamy sauce. I sprinkled on some sea salt and a few fresh oregano leaves left in our winter garden.
Still a favorite of Roman trattorias and home cooks a like. Cucina povera at it's best.

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