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Cacio e Pepe Pasta
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What the forms say: W-2, 1099, IT-201, W-9, 1040.
What I read: KFC, BLT, M&Ms, CPK, PB&J.
There may not be crying in baseball, but there is without a doubt crying in taxes. I’ve never been big on “math,” so I’m thanking my lucky stars that the world’s best CPA saved me from the horror this year with a lesson in Taxes 101. Now that the headache is behind me for another 11 months, I’m doing what I do every year after I file my taxes: promising myself I’ll spend less money on food.
Here’s my first attempt: noodles, butter, cheese and pepper. Cacio e Pepe is my budget-friendly, big-flavored favorite that’s not so great for the skinny jeans but unbeatable for the wallet. My sister first introduced me to this dish during dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago, Davanti Enoteca. One taste, and I, nor my food budget, have ever looked back.
Cacio e Pepe Pasta
- 1 lbs dried spaghetti
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, small diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely grated black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Return the pasta to the pot. Add the grated cheese, butter, black pepper and roughly ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pot, stirring until combined. If necessary, add more pasta water to thin out the cheese and butter until the spaghetti is well coated.
I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to reserve a portion of the pasta water when draining the spaghetti. The starchy water is critical to the consistency of the sauce, so while hot water will work in a pinch, avoid forgetting this step!
The cheese must be grated, rather than shredded, as the shredded consistency has the tendency to clump together when added to the pot.