Cacio e Pepe with Lemons & Cerignola Olives
In my attempt to start sharing more savory dishes with you, I wanted to share with you a dish that exemplifies what my kitchen is all about; making something delicious and creative even with the minimal amount of everyday ingredients. And pasta has to be by far one of the best canvas to showcase that cooking style.
I think wittiness is a great trait around the kitchen. If I’m not constantly looking for way to mix and match the ingredients I have in hand we will probably starved because of food boredom. I need to change the colors and flavors of my plate constantly, and need to do so with simple ingredients and easy changes. That’s why I thought on adding those jumbo Cerignola olives to this humble dish. Doesn’t they look so fun? They are meaty and so big! The lemon slices is a very delicate contrast to all the heaviness and saltiness of the cheeses.
This is a dish I love because I can put it together in less than 30 minutes and it feel so decadent and comforting. I’m sure it will belong to your repertoire very soon too!
Traditional Cacio e Pepe calls for more Pecorino and just a bit of Parmesan. You may use more of one or the other but I strongly suggest you stick with these two type of cheeses because they truly goes perfecly with this amount of fresh ground pepper you will be using here.
Even though pasta always taste better just right out of the skillet, this dish surprisingly tastes great even a couple of days after being cooked.
You may omit the lemons and olives for a purist dish, but that touch of acidic and briny really amped up the flavors and it is really tasty!
Really recommend using a non-stick skillet as well as silicon utensils. Trust me!
Cacio e Pepe with Lemons and Cerignola Olives
About 4 pasta plates as main course
Total time - 20 minutes Active time - 10 minutes
Equipment - Non-stick large skillet, silicon spoon or spatula and silicon thongs
Spaguetti, bucattini or any other large thin pasta – 8 oz
Fine sea salt – 3 TBSP
Organic grass-fed butter – 3 TBSP
Freshly ground black pepper – about 1 Tsp + more to serve
Mix of grated Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses – 1 cup plus more to serve
Thin lemon slices – ½ to ¾ cup
Black Cerignola olives – 1 cups
Extra grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper to serve
In a large deep pot bring 8 cups of water to a boil. When the water is heavy boiling add the salt and let it dissolve for a minute. Add the pasta, carefully plunging the noodles until they are all under water. Cook according to package instruction, moving every couple of minutes to prevent the noodles sticking to the bottom and sticking to each other.
When the pasta is about 2 minutes shy from being cooked melt the butter with the black pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to the skillet and incorporate about 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Using a rubber or silicon spatula start mixing everything until the cheese is almost completely melted. Incorporate the cooked pasta into the skillet and preferably with cooking thongs combine the pasta with the liquid. Add the rest of the cheese and keep moving constantly until the cheese is completely melted around the noodles and the liquid has thickened. Incorporate the lemon slices and the olives and toss everything once more.
Retire form heat and serve immediately with more cheese and pepper if desire. You may store any leftover pasta for up to a week, just add a bit of water when reheating.