Monday, August 2, 2010

You call that cacio e pepe?

Never underestimate the power of a good wine buzz. It can lead you to interesting places.

Take the fava bean-inspired concoction you are about to witness. Never woulda happened had the vino not first been swigged.

But swigged it was and so here we be.

See, I'd been planning to make a nice bowl of cacio e pepe the other evening (a simple Roman pasta dish made with cheese and ground pepper). But I got a phone call early in the prep stage, during which a very respectable bottle of Nero d'Avola managed to become uncorked.

Next thing you know I'm shelling the favas that I'd fetched from the garden that afternoon. And by the time I was off the phone there were a bunch ready for eating, but no plan on what to do with them.

So I did what seemed reasonable. I poured another glass of the Nero, stepped outside on the back porch with the dog and pondered the strategic blunder I'd made by getting involved with those damned (er, lovely) favas in the first place.

Soon enough, as happens often and without warning to me (regular readers know this) my mind traveled to (where else?) the chunk of mortadella in the fridge.

And so I chopped me up some of that.

And commenced to making the cacio e pepe — only with two pretty major additions that I do not think the Romans (that means you, Massimo!) would approve of.

You got your freshly grated Pecorino Romano.

And ground black peppercorns.

A pack of spaghetti alla chitarra.

And there you go.

Here's a recipe for cacio e pepe from Saveur (they use two different cheeses, but using the pecorino alone is fine). As for the favas and mortadella, I tossed them in at the last minute.

Just as I was polishing off the first bottle of wine.


Jeannie said...

That's a very refreshing yummy looking plate of pasta with fava beans! Love it.

Claudia said...

I'll skip authentic when the meal is fabulous. And I'll drink the wine, too.

Juliana said...

Wow, nice pasta the simplicity of it :-)

Pam said...

I definitely have to try this as fava beans are the best! You did it up perfectly!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Sometimes the best concoctions are those without a recipe, I would eat this in a heartbeat, with a little vino on the side!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

well it looks like you made a serious improvement with those favas! That pasta dish looks amamzing and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Never has a fava bean passed my lips so I'm a novice. Did you cook them before you tossed them in at the end?

Mister Meatball said...

Anonymous: Good question. I decided not to cook them, as they were so fresh and had such a nice 'bite.'
Others no doubt would have chosen differently.