One of the things that I find difficult about cooking professionally is feeding myself. I’m not a breakfast person so that meal consists of two cups of coffee. Prepping for the evening service happens during lunch which leaves me wolfing down a sandwich as I chop and stir. Dinner falls somewhere between 8 and 10 pm when I’m cock-eyed from hunger. Last winter, Dr. Oekter frozen pizzas became my meal of choice because they’re fast. It’s crazy that I refuse to take ten more minutes from my day to prepare something homemade for me to eat. I guarantee you if I had the chance to cook for one more customer I would!
Given that Italian food is my specialty, not feeding myself is pitiful. In the time it takes to boil water and cook some pasta, dinner could be on the table.
From this day forward, I am committing to feed myself well on the evenings that I work.
I don’t have to think very hard to come up with simple pasta dishes. Many of the classic sauces were invented by hard-working Italians that were too busy to spend hours in the kitchen but still wanted something tasty to eat. Cacio e Pepe [cheese and pepper] is a simple, fast and delicious classic on every menu in Rome. I tried it this summer, loved it and have been working on the recipe since then. The first time that I served it to Ralph, we both had choking fits from the amount of pepper that I used! The secret to this dish is finding the perfect balance between the heat of the pepper and the richness from the cheese. I nailed it today!
If you like black pepper, this is your pasta.
Cacio e Pepe
8 ounces dry pasta – I used tagliatelle
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese – reggiano parmigiano
3 tablespoons butter
Prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions
As the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large heavy bottomed skillet
Add ground pepper and cooked pasta along with 1/4 cup of pasta water.
Add cheese, toss well, plate and serve.
I’ll keep you posted as to how well I feed myself over the next few months. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading.