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Cacio e Pepe With Pancetta Recipe

by - Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Do you miss travelling? Are you binge watching all the things? If you said yes to both those questions, I highly encourage you to watch Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy. This six part series takes you on a gastronomical tour through Italy and brings the sights, sounds, and food of travel that we're all missing these days.

Which brings me to this Cacio e Pepe pasta recipe which was shared on the Rome episode. With Easter coming up this weekend, I think this would make a delicious addition to your Easter Sunday lunch.

Now I try to limit the carbs I eat, but my resistance was no match for this seemingly simple yet delicious dish. It won me over with the easily available ingredients and quick cooking method. 


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Basic Cacio e Pepe Pasta

The magic of Italian cooking lies in its simplicity which makes this particular pasta recipe quite versatile. Starting with the base of pasta tossed in butter, pepper, and cheeses, you can add other ingredients to suit the recipe to your liking. I've added pancetta to ours but other ideas to amp up your Cacio e Pepe are:
- spinach or arugula
- shrimp, scallops, or crab
- sausage
- chicken
- asparagus or peas

cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe


Pasta is easy to cook but it's also easy to get wrong. There were a few things that I think make this dish out of the ordinary.

First was adding the boiled pasta water to the pancetta fat, black pepper, and butter mixture. The salty and starchy water adds flavour and helps to thicken your sauce. Whenever making a creamy sauce for pasta, tossing some of the pasta water will help to bind your pasta and the sauce. It's a magic ingredient!

cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe

Secondly, was the use of my Our Place pan. I swear this new pan makes every dish taste better. The non stick surface worked well with the pancetta and leaves the crispy bits at the bottom easy to scrape up. This pan is also exceptional for cooking pasta - it has very high sides so it makes it easy to toss all of the pasta back into this pan and coat it with your sauce.

cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe

cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe

I used my favourite pasta brand, La Molisana, for this dish. I don't eat a lot of pasta but when I do, I make sure it's this brand.

I used linguine for this dish but I think any thicker long pasta shape like fettucine or spaghetti would work. You want something for the creamy sauce to hold on to!

cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe

The linguine tossed with Parmegiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses and butter makes this a creamy, flavourful dish. The key was to have your cheese finely grated so that it melts easily and coats your noodles. Try it out for a quick weeknight dinner, served with a side salad and crusty bread.


cacio e pepe with pancetta, cacio e pepe recipe, pasta cacio e pepe

Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta


Ingredients:

1 pound linguine
6 oz pancetta, cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Over high heat, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and the linguine and cook until al dente, 12-14 minutes. Drain and keep aside 3/4 cup of the pasta water.
  2. While your pasta is boiling, add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Toss in the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan.
  3. To the same sauté pan, add the butter and black pepper. Add in 1/2 cup of the pasta water slowly and keep stirring until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add in the drained pasta. Toss the pasta to coat it in the liquid. Keep tossing and add in the cheeses. Add more pasta water if needed to get the desired consistency. 
  5. Add back in the pancetta and toss to combine. Plate and serve. Top with more cheese, if desired.

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