For all its ease and versatility, I don’t really make pasta much. I know it’s a quick weeknight dinner; I know it’s a crowd favorite, etc. etc. But, especially since learning of my tomato allergy (no more tomato sauce!), pasta has been a severely neglected dish in my kitchen.
Well, trying this week to make a simple quick dinner before an evening event, I stumbled across this recipe for a spaghetti carbonara twist on Pasta Cacio e Pepe. It looked so delicious and tasty and quick. That was all I needed. “Pasta, old friend,” I said out loud to the box of noodles, “It’s time to catch up.”
Yes I talk to my food. Don’t you? If you don’t, you should. Food tastes better when you’ve had a conversation with it.
No but really, it does. Sometimes you’ve just got to talk to your food. If you listen, your food will tell you what it likes to be paired with, how it wants to be treated, and how long to cook it. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy! It’s real! That’s how I discovered that this pasta wanted to be paired with a plummy Pinot Noir, and not a white wine like I would have thought. That’s also how I learned that this pasta demanded warm butter, and wanted nothing to do with the olive oil I had originally planned. I tell you, you’ve got to listen to your food.
Crazy food talk aside, this pasta was the exact right choice for my quick evening dinner. My only regret was that I didn’t have more time to enjoy it! In my version, al dente pasta is tossed with freshly grated cheese, a little butter (according to its request), freshly ground black pepper, chopped basil, and an egg. It’s then topped with tiny seared bay scallops. The oh-so-pretty dish would be a great first course with or without the scallops, but served me well as an excellent full dinner on-the-run. (“Run” used loosely…) The simplest dishes are often the most delicious, and this Pasta Cacio e Pepe was both of these.
- 2 ounces spaghetti (or other pasta)
- 2 tablespoons reserved pasta water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, separated
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
- 1 fresh egg
- 20 bay scallops
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.
- In a large bowl, add the pasta, 2 tablespoons of pasta water, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of butter, grated parmesan, and egg. Toss the ingredients with a large spoon to combine them all and to coat the pasta. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese and butter and cook the egg a bit.
- In a medium saucepan, melt and heat the remaining tablespoon of butter.
- When the butter is hot and sizzling, add ten of the bay scallops to the pan, browning them on one side.
- After a minute of cooking, turn the scallops to cook them on the other side for 30 seconds. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a paper towel.
- Repeat the step above with the remaining scallops.
- Add the pasta to a plate or bowl to serve and top with the seared scallops and chopped basil. Enjoy!
I’m bringing this yummy pasta dish to Angie’s 24th Fiesta Friday! I hope my fellow party-goers enjoy it!