Many who know me will attest that my cooking skills are minimal—adequate at best. I can cook to survive, basically. However, I follow a Filipino-French blogger (Erwan Heussaff) on social media and he shared a video of him making Cacio e Pepe. It looked pretty simple (other than the part where he made his own pasta), only needing pasta, cheese, and black pepper (and I love all three), so I thought I should give it a try sometime.
On the day I finally decided to make it, I felt inspired and thought I should kick it up a notch and replace pasta with butternut squash noodles. I had to Google the best way to cook vegetable noodles because I didn’t want them to turn into mush (unlike pasta, sauté, not boil). As for the rest of the ingredients, I just estimated. I love cheese and I thought I can store any leftover cracked black pepper, so I didn’t mind having extra ingredients leftover.
- Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses, grated (estimate how much you want)
- Black pepper, freshly cracked (I actually used a mortar and pestle!)
- Olive oil
- Butternut Squash noodles (I bought packaged spiralized noodles, but feel free to make your own.)
- Heat Olive oil in pan and sauté most of the black pepper (leave some to finish off the dish).
- Add noodles to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes (or until desired texture).
- Remove the pan from direct heat and immediately start gradually adding the grated cheeses while mixing in with the noodles.
- Top with extra black pepper, if desired.
It was so simple to make, yet tasted delicious, as if a lot of work went into it. We had it as a side for the baked lemon pepper Salmon my husband made for dinner. I think it needed to be a bit hotter while mixing in the cheese to make it creamier, but it definitely turned out a lot better than I expected. I’m definitely making it again whenever I want a quick and delicious homemade meal. For next time, I plan on grating the cheeses into finer pieces and adding them around the 3-minute mark so I can still keep the pan on direct, low heat to really melt the cheeses without worrying about getting the veggies too soft. Who knows, maybe I’ll also try to make my own pasta.