capellini with cheese and black pepper

March 27, 2011 | 11 comments

capellini cacio e pepe

People, I had great plans for last week — paint my bedroom, make a newer, better version of rice crispy bars (if that’s even possible), scrub the kitchen floor, do laundry (ha! I crack myself up sometimes) — and did I do a single one? No. I found myself victim to the thermostat (and the central heat’s) cruel joke of keeping the house at a cool and balmy frighteningly freezing 55-degrees (yes, as in 23-degrees warmer than the freezing point, as in 43.4 degrees colder than a normal body temperature, as in so cold my fingers are now permanent icicles that break when forced around a hot mug of cocoa that is guaranteed to warm me up, but cannot for the life of me hold it up to my mouth because of my now-nub fingers…) Sigh, it’s been rough, not that I am complaining — no one likes complainers, I’m just simply telling you facts here, yeah, just facts. I definitely don’t want sympathy, condolences or heart-felt wishes from plastic surgeons to repair my broken, damaged fingers. I’m not that selfish.

grinding black pepperpecorino romano from rome

And since I am not a mumbling, grumbling, freezing complainer I will tell you that my week instantly brightened when I received Gweneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter which quickly made my mouth water as she listed five Mario Batali recipes full of cheese and cheese and cheese and goodness. She talked about ipad and iphone apps from Mario, and if I were rich enough (read: did not spend all my money on dishes, shoes and hair products) to own such amazing devices I perhaps would have been more interested in what she was saying before scrolling down and almost trying to lick my screen to get that goodness in me (cold people don’t think properly sometimes. Like my husband, you should ignore me when I get a bit crazed and only take notice of me if I start to foam at the mouth, that obviously would be bad).

pasta al dentethe black spot

Four long, cold days after reading about pasta, butter, cheese and pepper I have made the very recipe that made me snap out of my bitterly cold doldrums and have completely carbed myself out for a month. Realizing only as I made this that I have in fact been making this weekly during these cold winter months without realizing it. Except I was a bit more streamlined and got my results twice as fast as cold people have no patience. Regardless of which method you use, you are sure to have creamy risotto-ish pasta filled with layers of cheese and cheese and cheese and pepper and cheese. Cheese is a good thing.

capellini with cheese and black pepper

One Year Ago: Cheesecake Swirled Brownies and Chocolate Ice Cream

Capellini Cacio e Pepe
Adapted from GOOP.com via Mario Batali

Note: This can be made with any long pasta, like spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or angel hair. I happen to prefer thin noodles over thick and choose capellini, which is barely thicker than angel hair.

Serves 4

1/2 pound dried capellini
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, plus extra for serving
Kosher salt

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Drop in pasta.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter over low heat until just melted. Turn off the heat.

When pasta is about one minute short of package directions for al dente, turn the heat back on under the saute pan. Take 2 ladles of pasta cooking water and add to the oil and butter in the saute pan and bring it to a boil. Add a small handful of the cheeses and allow to melt into the butter.

Drain the noodles, reserving a few cups of the cooking liquid. Drop the noodles into the saute pan and toss with black pepper, using tongs. Add in 2 more ladles of pasta water.

Add rest of the cheeses, turn off the heat, allow them to melt into the top of the pasta, then toss well. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Keep tossing, adding another ladleful of pasta cooking water, until pasta is well coated and a sauce has formed. Season with salt.

Serve with additional grated parmigiano and freshly ground black pepper.

Meg’s Version (which is also a one-pot version, unlike Mario’s):

Serves 2 – 4

1/2 pound pasta (long pasta is traditional though I have been know to make this with whatever I have on hand, macaroni, cavatappi, shells, etc.)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 – 3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (or yes, more if desired), plus extra for serving
Kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, cook until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving pasta water. Place pasta back in pot and add butter, stirring until melted. Add cheese and stir until creamy and combined. If pasta gets super thick and clumpy, add a ladle full of pasta water until thick and creamy — you don’t want it super watery so do one ladle full at a time. Salt to taste, and sprinkle with extra cheese and enjoy cleaning one pot.

Conversions & Equivalents

Volume | Baking | Metric | Pan Size | Temperature | Oven | Other

1/2 teaspoon = 30 drops
1 teaspoon = 1/3 tablespoon OR 60 drops
3 teaspoon = 1 tablespoon or 1/2 fluid ounce
1/2 tablespoon = 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
3 tablespoons = 1 1/2 fluid ounces
4 tablespoons = 1 1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces
10 2/3 tablespoons = 2/3 cup or 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces
16 tablespoons = 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
5/8 cup = 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces
7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons or 1/2 pint or 8 fluid ounces
2 cups = 1 pint or 16 fluid ounces
1 pint = 2 cups or 16 fluid ounces
1 quart = 2 pints or 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces
1 gallon = 4 quarts or 8 pints or 16 cups or 128 fluid ounces
FLOUR
1 cup all-purpose flour = 5 ounces or 142 grams
1 cup cake flour = 4 ounces or 113 grams
1 cup whole wheat flour = 5 1/2 ounces or 156 grams
SUGAR
1 cup granulated white sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup packed brown sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup confectioners sugar = 4 ounces or 113 grams
COCOA POWDER
1 cup cocoa powder = 3 ounces or 85 grams
BUTTER
4 tablespoons = 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup or 2 ounces
8 tablespoons = 1 stick or 1/2 cup or 4 ounces
16 tablespoons = 2 sticks or 1 cup or 8 ounces
32 tablespoons = 4 sticks or 2 cups or 1 pound
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
1/2 teaspoon = 2.46 milliliters
3/4 teaspoon = 3.7 milliliters
1 teaspoon = 4.93 milliliters
1 1/4 teaspoon = 6.16 milliliters
1 1/2 teaspoon = 7.39 milliliters
1 3/4 teaspoon = 8.63 milliliters
2 teaspoon = 9.86 milliliters
1 tablespoon = 14.79 milliliters
2 tablespoons = 29.57 milliliters
1/4 cup = 59.15 milliliters
1/2 cup = 118.3 milliliters
1 cup = 236.59 milliliters
2 cups or 1 pint = 473.18 milliliters
3 cups = 709.77 milliliters
4 cups or 1 quart = 946.36 milliliters
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
4 quarts or 1 gallon = 3.785 liters
PAN SIZE VOLUME CAN SUBSTITUTE WITH
1 8-inch round cake pan 4 cups

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch pie plate

2 8-inch round cake pans 8 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 9-inch round cake pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 10-inch round cake pan 11 cups

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch tube pan

1 10-inch springform pan

2 10-inch round cake pans 22 cups

5 8-inch round cake pans

3 or 4 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch spring form pan

9-inch tube pan 12 cups

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

10-inch tube pans 16 cups

3 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch pie plates

4 8-inch pie plates

2 9x5-inch loaf pans

2 8-inch square baking dishes

2 9-inch square baking dishes

10-inch bundt pan 12 cups

1 9x13-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

1 10-inch springform pan

11x7x2-inch baking dish 6 cups

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch round cake pan

9x13x2-inch baking dish 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

3 8-inch round cake pans

1 10x15-inch jellyroll pan

10x15x1-inch jellyroll pan 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9x13-inch baking dish

9x5-inch loaf pan 8 cups

1 10-inch pie plate pan

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

8x4-inch loaf pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

9-inch springform pan 10 cups

1 10-inch round cake pan

1 10-inch spring form pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

10-inch springform pan 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

2 8-inch round cake pans

8-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plates

9-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plate

Water Freezes 32°F 0°C
  40°F 4.4°C
  50°F 10°C
  60°F 15.6°C
  70°F 21.1°C
  80°F 26.7°C
  90°F 32.2°C
  100°F 37.8°C
  110°F 43.3°C
  120°F 48.9°C
  130°F 54.4°C
  140°F 60°C
  150°F 65.6°C
  160°F 71.1°C
  170°F 76.7°C
  180°F 82.2°C
  190°F 87.8°C
  200°F 93.3°C
Water Boils 212°F 100°C
  250°F 121°C
  300°F 149°C
  350°F 177°C
  400°F 205°C
  450°F 233°C
  500°F 260°C
275°F = 140°C or Gas Mark 1
300°F = 150°C or Gas Mark 2
325°F = 165°C or Gas Mark 3
350°F = 180°C or Gas Mark 4
375°F = 190°C or Gas Mark 5
400°F = 200°C or Gas Mark 6
425°F = 220°C or Gas Mark 7
450°F = 230°C or Gas Mark 9
475°F = 240°C or Gas Mark 10

And for conversions that are not listed I found a great conversion calculator here!

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  1. Oh gosh, GOOP. If I didn’t love you, I would wag my finger at you.

    But seriously, this looks so good I want to lick my screen.

  2. Looks so yummy…it’s added to my cheat day feast. Meanwhile, I must check out GOOP. I’ve heard a lot about it.

  3. I had no idea Gwyneth had her hand in that type of stuff! I am not sure if I buy into the idea of her in the kitchen cooking it up! She does not look like she eats at all!
    But, nevertheless I can recognize a good pasta recipe :) Looks like some serious butter affair is going on in there!

    Hang on, the warm weather is near. I have to move all my potted herbs inside tonight and I am hoping it is for the last time!

  4. Tierney and Crishana — I am actually not a huge GOOP lover. I mainly read the recipes or if there is a good workout routine (read: I like to pretend I will actually do a workout routine) otherwise I skip over the detox/spiritual/blended green smoothie stuff. She also has some make-up/fashion tips, if you can actually afford her supa-star taste.

  5. Paltrow has impeccable taste. I was really turned off by her GOOP letter about how ‘hard’ her life is… but this dish does look fantastic! Not healthy in the least, but tasty!! Thanks for pointing out the recipes. Cheers.

  6. Adorable story. So Funny. Often its these simple meals using the best ingredients that just knock the socks off. But, you’d better keep yours on, and your slippers too…wish I could send humidity your way.

  7. First off… Those pics are gorgeous!!!!!!!!!
    And second of all…this pasta looks so easy to prepare and savory too :)

  8. What a simple recipe to warm you up. That pile of cheese got me drooling too. I’m SUCH a cheese addict. Hope you’re warm and cozy by now. Or eating some more warm and cozy food.

  9. I could go for a bowlful of this right about now.

  10. This looks so good! I have a very similar recipe that just adds a little garlic and chopped basil – so simple but deeeeeeelish.

  11. Your web site is great! I tellpeople about it all the time. Great pictures! Love you!!

    Dad.

 

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