Within the last couple of years cacio e pepe has become such a culinary buzzword. Every pasta-driven instagram posts it almost on a daily basis. I’ve seen people say cacio e pepe is the new alfredo, whatever that means.
Like any hot trend there has been some elitism that has rode alongside it. From arguing the pronunciation to claiming if you don’t have pecorino made with milk from a virgin sheep that is then processed by the spirit of nonnas past then you’re doing it wrong.
While you do want to make everything right and perfect as possible, here’s the deal. Cacio e pepe=cheese and pepper. That’s the literal translation. You know what tastes great with cheese and pepper? That’s right, mother-hecking buttermilk biscuits!
The true beauty of this drop biscuit recipe is there isn’t an intense amount of work to it. Once your oven’s preheated the whole thing takes about 15 minutes. What could be better???
P.S. this is a small batch recipe that makes about 6-8 biscuits. Feel free to multiply for more goodness!
I have a friend who’s been tending to a pretty massive farm. She recently posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to buy some beautiful mushrooms that popped up from a super bloom she had. Words can’t describe how quickly I hopped on getting a pound of fresh mixed ones and a few ounces of dried hen of the woods. Half of the fresh went to a steak dinner. For the other half there was only one way to go: risotto.
I posted before about the concept of a double mushroom dish in my double mushroom pasta. The concept is to have the mushrooms not just on top or stirred in, but also within the liquid the starch is cooked in to create a reinforced mushroom flavor. This time instead of mushroom pasta water I’m using a mushroom stock for the risotto stirring.
Risotto is a top tier comfort food for me anyway, but with all this shroomy goodness I’m feeling good!
During most of my day to day life I like super simple, clean cooking. But I have a special tradition I like to call “fuck it Friday.” It’s a similar concept to a cheat day, but without the gross guilty connotation, and it allows me to set it on a schedule.
One of my big go tos for this moment is some kind of alfredo pasta. But what happens when I feel the need to be sneaky during the week, or on the other hand slide a vegetable into my Fridays? The answer is simple, why not both? Enter alfredo mashed cauliflower.
It’s super rich and decadent. But making cauliflower the base at least lets me pretend I’m being somewhat healthful. I’m a huge believer in the magic of cauliflower, and if you weren’t before then there’s nothing a little parmesan won’t solve.
In all fairness I owe a lot of what’s written to my brother, Sean. He’s basically my 24/7 hotline for bouncing recipe ideas off of someone, and getting editing suggestions. Sometimes he’ll even blurt out, “you know what would be cool…,” and then hit me with some nifty idea that I try and work up. This was one of those times.
He threw the idea of putting sambal in arrabiata sauce. For those of you who don’t know arrabiata is a pasta sauce that consists of tomato, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. That’s it. I tried making this with just subbing out the chili for sambal and it was fine, there just wasn’t any magic.
Then I decided to add a couple of flavor friends, fish sauce for salty funk and ginger for extra pep in my step, and the flavor profile felt full and packed with umami.
Back in I want to say sometime between 1999-2001 I lived for when my parents would let me stay up late so I could watch the original Japanese Iron Chef. The drama, the chefs being themed on nationality, my dear sweet Chairman Kaga, and that fortune teller judge. What a time to be alive.
Those late (to a six-year-old) nights were pretty much my crash course in getting wild and creative. I remember they made ice cream out of EVERYTHING, namely squid ink, which I didn’t even know was a thing you eat, but now I adore. But this story leads to one place. And that is my first ever love/hero, Masahiko Kobe aka “Iron Chef Italian.” This dude made ravioli with chocolate pasta dough.
My. World. Was. Rocked. I went borderline rabid asking how is that possible, and if my mom would make it for me. She looked like I grew two heads.
Fast forward about 10 years. I’m a junior in high school. My mom, brother and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stopped in a fancy chocolate shop. And there it was…a bag of chocolate fettuccine. I immediately flashed back to my Iron Chef days and tried to do everything to get that bag to go home with me, to no avail.
But guess what, mom? I’m an adult now and can make my own damn chocolate pasta! (I’m sorry mom, I love you.)
The biggest challenge was figuring out what sauce to make with it. I thought creamy, I thought mascarpone, and then I thought nah. I decided I wanted something that felt fresh to go with it. So I landed on raspberries and mint for freshness, with a punch of balsamic vinegar for intrigue.
In an almost Garfield level consistency my boyfriend and I crave lasagna. Do I really need to explain why??? I’m no stranger in trying to find slight ways to “health up” lasagna. But I wanted to take it even farther. So I came up with this version that promises no carb bombs or meat sweats.
Instead of a classic bolognese I made a mushroom ragu to give that meaty texture and flavor, and swapped out noodles with layers of roasted eggplant. The end result is kind of like eggplant parm meets lasagna. And. Im. Am. Into. It. And the best part? Despite eating a bowlful I still feel ready to take on the world, or in this case my house cleaning.
I think my ultimate food happy place is any kind of pasta and shellfish. Something about the sweet, briny flavors on top of a bowl of noodles gets me going every time. A particular favorite of mine is spaghetti vongole. This os a dish that clasically consists of clam and chili. What’s not to love??
Like my pasta puttanesca this dish uses the classic aglio olio consisting of anchovy and garlic as the flavor base for the sauce. The anchovy not onoy enhances the ocean flavor of the clams, but also adds a huge savory kick as well. So all in all we have sweet, salty, briny, spicy, savory, and bright. Just talking about it I wish I had a bowl in front of me.
There’s something so magical about Halloween. From watching Hocus Pocus, to gorging on sweets it really is one of my favorite times of year. For this Halloween I wanted to come up with a dark and spooky dish to fit the season.
One ingredient came to mind, squid ink. Squid ink has become a really exciting ingredient for me. I’ve had it in nicer restaurants and enjoyed it. And of course we can’t forget my pasta for goths recipe that stars squid ink pasta. Squid ink gives a beautiful briny, ocean-like flavor to whatever you add it to. Squid ink used to be a hard to find luxury ingredient, but we live in the age of the internet and you can easily find it online.
Although the rain all of this past week might suggest otherwise, we are finally entering summertime! Gastronomically one of the best parts about the warmer months is tomato season. Tomatoes are easily one of my favorite ingredients to cook with, and this pasta dish is a celebration of just that.