Cacio e Pepe

July 30 - smoked ribs and sausages with burrata & tomato salad - with tomatoes form our garden!
July 31 - our first anniversary, dinner out at Origin
August 1 - Mussels in white wine & fennel with crusty bread, chabichou cheese and a green salad
August 2 - Cacio e Pepe with leftover smoked sausage and a side of green beans

I can do this, right?  I can work 10-11 hours days and still get home to make dinner and share my escapades with you.  Right?  


It sure doesn't feel that way.  But I'm going to do my best.  And I figure most of you out there have jobs outside of the homes and still have to figure getting dinner on the table.  And it's not like I haven't done it before.  I've just never been challenged with putting a different meal on the dinner table every night.  My goto meals of mac & cheese and burgers just won't cut this time.  But then again, this is what this challenge is all about, right? So I'm going to do my best to rise to the occasion and keep truckin, frustration and tiredness and all.  
I planned this dish in reaction to my stress about keeping up with the challenge.  It's cheap and delicious and comes together in about as long as it takes to boil water and cook pasta, perfect for a weeknight.  We had some leftover smoked sausages, sicilian (with fennel & black pepper) and chorizo (with red wine), that we made on Saturday night so I sauteed them up and tossed them with the pasta, but this is a Roman pasta dish traditionally made without meat, so it's up to you.  If i can use up som leftovers in a meal, it's that much quicker and less wasteful so I'm all over that!  As the pasta was coming together I realized I didn't have enough greens for a salad but luckily had some beans, so I threw them on to steam and tossed them with some garlic oil and lemon zest for an easy peasy green side.  

Seriously the next time you are feeling overwhelmed at life and still have to get dinner on the table make this.  The only ingredients (save for the sausage) are things every cook should have on hand. Your family and your belly will be happy you did.

Cacio e Pepe with sausage
serves 2

1/2 lb pasta
1 sausage - leftover cooked or raw - sliced or crumbled (I use smoked)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup grated pecorino romano or parmiginao reggiano - basically a nice hard Italian cheese or a combination of the two
a very healthy amount of fresh cracked black pepper.

1.  Bring a large pot of water, salted like the sea, to a boil over high heat.  Add in pasta and cook to al dente.
2.  While the pasta cooks, heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Heat the butter and oil in the saute pan and add in the sausage.  Cook until heated through and slightly browned.
3.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve about a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the saute pan to with the sausage.  Toss to coat, add more butter if necessary.
4.  Add the cheese to the pan and toss to coat, adding in some of the reserved pasta water to keept he pasta loose and to make the sauce creamy.  Top with fresh cracked black pepper to taste, but go with a nice healthy amount.  The pasta is al about the cheese and pepper so you want to taste it.  Taste and add salt as necessary.


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