This one is so simple. Insanely simple. But we had to make it at some time, so why not today? Cacio e Pepe, an old Italian classic. Gwyneth doesn’t put a new spin on it at all, so I’m not sure what it’s really doing in her cookbook, taking up a full page. And now it’s taking up a full blog post. So we’re both cheating! Neat!
Anyway, you cook some spaghetti (not fresh, because I’m not insane). Meanwhile, you grate Parmesan and pecorino cheese into a bowl, over which you drizzle some olive oil and grind lots of black pepper. When the spaghetti is cooked, you mix a bit of the pasta water in with the cheesy mixture to create a cheesy paste. Then you coat the spaghetti with the paste, and that is cacio e pepe. SERIOUSLY, THAT’S IT. It tasted fine, you know? I mean, whatever. Obviously it’s not a main course in Italy, although Gwyneth apparently eats it for a cozy meal with a big glass of wine, which seems like a guaranteed way to get drunk. (Actually, she might be onto something here.)
So let’s take advantage of this boring, stupid meal and take some inventory: I did a quick overview of my progress thus far, and now I’m worried. Particularly because I’ve sort of, uh, forgotten about the breakfast section in the back of the book? I’ve made exactly one breakfast recipe. Whoops! And, no joke, I counted 21 salads total, and I’ve only completed three of them. THREE. (Granted, about half the salad recipes are actually made up of two recipes — one for the dressing and a separate recipe for the salad — so those will typically be knocked out in pairs). Gwyneth also has a strong love of winter veggies and not so much on the summer vegetable front, so a lot of recipes have been sitting there, waiting for the season to change. Anyway, as a result, I’ve actually FALLEN BEHIND SCHEDULE. Which means my head is about to start spinning in a million directions, because I’m going to be cooking like a madman. We’re past the halfway point in the allotted time, and definitely not past the halfway point in recipes cooked. I expect I’ll be a lot more like Julie Powell in the coming months, just screaming at everyone and acting like an egotistical lunatic (also, probably having an affair, just to complete the transformation). So, here we go. Oh, god, what if I fail? I’ll be chased off the internet.
On a related note, anyone know what the hell “purple sprouting broccoli” is or where I can find it? It sounds sinister and/or diseased.