Cacio e Pepe is typically a dish with only four ingredients – pasta, pecorino, salt and pepper. This recipe elevates the classic Italian dish and adds a different flavour. You can keep the recipes simple by not adding the fava beans or edamame. Enjoy this pasta dish for your next Meatless Monday.
Serves: 4 people
Time: 40 mins
Fava or Edamame Cream
7 ounces (200 g) 1¼ cups frozen blanched shelled fava beans or edamame, defrosted
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 scallions, white and green parts sliced
¼ teaspoon (1 g) salt
⅛ teaspoon (.5 g) pepper
6 fresh mint leaves
Cacio e Pepe
1 teaspoon (4 g) coarse sea salt
8 ounces (225 g) thick spaghetti
2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
Freshly ground coarse black pepper
4 ounces (115 g) 1½ cups grated Pecorino Romano PDO
1.Squeeze beans out of their skins. Heat oil in a two-quart (2l) sauce pan over medium. Add green onion; cook three minutes until wilted. Add beans, 1½ cups (360 ml) water, salt, pepper, and mint. Simmer for six minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Pass through a sieve. Spoon into four shallow pasta bowls and keep warm.
2.Put two quarts (2 l) of water into a large high-sided sauté pan.Bring to the boil and add coarse salt. Add pasta and cook for two minutes less than the package instructions say.
3.Meanwhile, set another sauté pan on a burner next to the one where the pasta is cooking. Add olive oil, butter, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Melt over medium heat until the butter turns golden brown. As soon as it does, remove from the heat and add about ¼ cup (60 ml) of pasta cooking water to stop the browning. Keep warm but off the heat.
4. When the pasta is done, transfer it with tongs to the pan with the butter. Add another ¼ cup (60 ml) of pasta cooking water and cook over medium high for two minutes, adding more pasta water if the pan gets dry. At the end of the two minutes there should be just a little bit of moisture in the pan.
5.Remove pan from the heat and gradually sprinkle in the Pecorino Romano PDO, stirring vigorously. If the pasta starts getting dry, add a little more pasta water. After adding about two thirds of the cheese, the sauce should be creamy.
6. Serve spaghetti on top of the fava/edamame cream. Season with additional pepper and remaining Pecorino Romano PDO.