I know I mentioned before, I’m not much of a fan for pasta. I blame my mother (in a good way), because she seriously is the best when it comes to cooking pasta since she makes everything from scratch. So for my whole life that has been my excuse to never order it at a restaurant, because it won’t compare in taste. However, Nick LOVES pasta, and his favorite dish is your classic spaghetti. So obviously as his wife I just can’t deprive him of his favorite dish! He has definitely mastered the classic red sauce spaghetti and meatball dish (my mom might have some close competition there), but lately he’s been getting more creative with his noodles. Below’s dish is one he made for us the other night that came with quite the kick! I even found myself going back for 3rds 🙂 If you wanted to add a sausage or another type of meat to this dish it would definitely be yummy, but honestly, you don’t need it!
Spicy Cacio e Pepe with Parsley:
Ingredients: serves 2-3
- -1 pack of thick spaghetti
- – 1-2 cups fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese (you can use the granulated, pre-grated kind… it will still taste good, but the texture of the dish won’t be quite as nice. Also, use 1/3 less if you use non-fresh)
- – 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
- – 6-8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced… the more the merrier, really)
- – 1 Tbsp dried chili flakes (or more, depending on how much kick you want)
- – salt & pepper
- – extra virgin olive oil
- Boil spaghetti in generously salted water until al dente. Strain into the bowl you’re going to serve the pasta in and toss w/ a little olive oil (to stop it from sticking together.)
- In the now empty pot, add 1/4 cup of olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes. Heat over low heat, cooking until garlic flakes are just starting to get golden, 3-4 mins, stirring regularly. This should make a nice garlic/chili oil.
- Return the pasta to the pot, quickly tossing with the garlic/chili oil. Cook, continually tossing, for another 1-2 mins, then remove from heat.
- This step you can choose to do or not, depending on how cheesy you like your pasta (I like to skip this part to keep the pasta healthier… and to be honest, even Nick said it doesn’t detract from the flavor too much). But if you insist… Add 1 cup of Parmesan to the hot pasta, tossing actively. This should allow the parm to melt a little, but not to mac & cheese-like consistency.
- Add to the serving bowl, tossing with fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. You should use a generous amount of parsley… parsley offsets the richness/spiciness of the rest of the ingredients.) Make sure to add the parm before salt, b/c parm is salty in and of itself. Same with black pepper, as the chili pepper already adds spiciness… we like a lot of pepper anyways, though.
- Regardless of whether or not you added parm in step 4, definitely sprinkle fresh grated parm on top. Et voila! You’re done!