Cacio e Pepe

This recipe is seriously spaghetti, cheese, butter, and pepper. And I like to add garlic, tomatoes, and basil. How can you possibly go wrong? It’s so easy and so delicious. Perfect for a simple pasta meal that tastes like you put a lot of effort into it.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (225g) spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup; 55g), very finely grated
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and about a teaspoon of black pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until ingredients are fragrant and pepper is barely starting to sizzle, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Place spaghetti in a large skillet and cover with water. Season with a small pinch of salt, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until spaghetti is al dente (typically about 1 minute less than the package recommends). Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta cooking water to the skillet with the olive oil/pepper mixture. Stir in butter and garlic. Using tongs, lift spaghetti and transfer it to the oil/butter mixture.
  3. Add cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and stir with a fork until cheese is completely melted. Add a few more tablespoons of pasta water to the skillet to adjust consistency, reheating as necessary until the sauce is creamy and coats each strand of spaghetti. Add in tomatoes and fresh basil. Season to taste with salt and more black pepper. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

This is a simple yet delicious sauce that’s versatile and goes well with many different things. It’s easy enough to make on a random weeknight, but would be great for a special occasion as well. The red wine adds richness and depth of flavor to what would normally be a regular meat sauce.

So set aside your bottle of Ragu or Prego today and try to make your own sauce! I promise it’ll be so worth it.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or pork
  • 4 gloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • 1 Tbsp honey, optional
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.
  4. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for at least an hour until deep maroon color and thick.
  5. Add the nutmeg, basil, honey and cream (if desired), and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
  6. Serve over pasta, couscous, quinoa, veggie noodles, whatever your heart desires!

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa.