Who needs comfort food today (we do!)?
While we are practicing social distancing, we can still share in the joy, comfort and life-giving properties of healthy, delicious meals. So, let’s all make this simple – and SUPER cozy – CK-style Cacio e Pepe (of course, with an added healthy twist), using ingredients found in our pantries and fridges, and make a virtual toast to our health, happiness and finding comfort in the simple things.
We are putting a twist on this traditional recipe by substituting whole grain pasta, adding frozen vegetables, reducing the amount of butter, and turning up the heat a bit with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Make your own healthy substitutions by adding more veggies, substituting ghee for butter, or replacing pasta with quinoa or a gluten-free variety.
CK-style Cacio e Pepe
6 ounces whole grain thin spaghetti (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan (or, use the pantry version if you don’t have fresh!)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained/pressed (or, fresh if you have it on hand)
1. Bring 3 quarts water to a rapid boil in a large pot. Add local sea salt (we love Duxbury Saltworks), then add pasta and cook, occasionally stirring, until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter (or ghee) and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and black pepper and toast, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.
3. Add drained pasta to butter mixture and toss with tongs.
4. Add cheese and toss to combine until pasta is evenly coated and cheese has melted (adding more reserved cooking liquid if necessary to create a smooth, creamy texture).
5. Fold in corn and spinach and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle delicately with red pepper flakes, transfer to family-style bowl and serve with extra parmesan and black pepper.