Recipe for perfect spaghetti cacio e pepe

One of my favourite pasta dishes (okay I admit that most pasta related dishes are my favourites) is the simple yet delicious Roman dish’cacio e pepe’. Cacio e pepe means cheese and pepper, and that is pretty much the dish, with the addition of spaghetti and a splash of cooking liquid.

Despite being a quite simple dish in terms of ingredients and time comnsumption, it’s kind of hard to get that perfect silky coating of cheese ‘sauce’ around the spaghetti. My previous versions have been a bit “lumpy”. But recently I fortunately learned a great trick: mix the grated cheese with cold water before mixing with the pasta.

Ingredients

Spaghetti (I use Martelli or De Cecco)

Pecorino cheese (in emergency use parmesan, but won’t be the same)

Black pepper

Cooking water

Salt

Preparation

1. Set pasta water to boil. Add lots of salt.

2. Mix about 2/3 of the pecorino cheese with a little bit of cold water to form a thick “paste”.

3. Cook spaghetti quite al dente (will cook some more in the sauce).

4. Drain spaghetti, but save a deciliter/half a cup or so of cooking water.

5. Combine the drained cooked spaghetti, a splash (maybe half) of the cooking water, cheese mix and a proper amount of black pepper in the cooking pot. Add heat and stirr (I use a kitchen tong) until most liquid has evaporated and the spaghetti is coated by a velvety, ‘glossy’ sauce. If needed, use the back up cooking water.

6. Serve immediately topped with remaining cheese and extra black pepper.

One of the best burgers I’ve made

As you may or may not have noticed, I am (oh well, I guess most people are) a big fan of burgers. This weekend I made a really good one.

The best thing is, you too can do this at home. The workload’s pretty easy, what matters is the quality of the ingredients. I only used five different items: store bought brioche buns (from Garant if you’re in Sweden), store ground chuck roll, truffle mayo (splash in a few drops of truffle oil in a store bought or homemade mayo), finely sliced yellow onion, sliced pickled cucumber and cheese. I used Reypenaer, a Dutch cheese, to get that yellow melted burger cheese without having to resort to “plastic cheese”. Substitute it with eg. Cheddar if you can’t find Reypenaer.

How to make the (delicious) cheeseburgers

Form the beef patties, I made them quite thin – about 100 grams each, since I served it as a double burger. Add a generous sprinkle of salt on both sides.

Slice cheese, pickled cucumbers and onion. Make mayo. Toast brioche buns.

Grill or fry the burger patties until prefered doneness, I went for medium (check with grocer if meat can be served slightly undercooked first though if not cooking it through). Add cheese

Smear mayo on a toasted bun, add onion and pickles. Add two burger patties on top of each others, cover with another mayo-smeared bun. Eat. I had it with fries and a glass of Zinfandel.

Vegetarian cauliflower curry


The other day it was Monday again. Monday usually means vegetarian for me. It all started with the ‘meatless Monday’ concept a couple of years back, and then I kind of got use to eat only vegetarian (all rules with exceptions though) on Mondays. This week I felt like curry, Indian curry, and thought roasted cauliflower should work well with it. It did…

What you need
1 head of cauliflower
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
2-3 fresh finely chopped tomatoes or a can of tinned tomatoes
3 tablespoons of cream (or substitute with yoghurt)
1 red chilli
1-2 tablespoon each of garam masala, cumin and turmeric
Neutral cooking oil for frying (or Indian clarified butter – ghee, if you’re very ambitious)

Serve with
Fresh coriander/cilantro
Basmati rice

How to cook it

1. Start with the cauliflower. Cut it down to bite-size florets. Then slice the red onion into “half moons” and finely chop the garlic and red chilli.

2. Heat the oil in a cooking pan (I actually used a wok to get it all to fit). When the oil is quite hot, add the cauliflower florets and fry them until the are starting to brown. When that happens, reduce the heat a bit and sprinkle over half of the garam masala, turmeric and cumin.

3. Continue woking the cauliflower until the spices are starting to toast and the florets almost look charred. Then remove the cauliflower from the heat and puts in a bowl or similar, cause you’re continuing using the pan/wok.

4. Add some extra oil if needed and fry the red onion on quite low heat until it starts to brown. Then add garlic and chilli and let fry until soft, but not browned. Add the remaining garam masala, turmeric and cumin and let toast for a minute or so before you quite quickly (so it doesn’t burn) move on to next step.

5. Add the tomatoes to the onion, chilli, garlic and spices. Stirr and add some water if needed. Let simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and possibly some sugar depending on how tart the tomatoes are.

6. Add cream or yoghurt to the curry, continue to simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop a bunch of fresh coriander and then add that, and the now cooled roasted cauliflower florets to the curry. Let simmer for a minute more or so. Taste, and if all’s well – serve with steamed rice, and a knob of butter, if you feel that you deserve it.

Creamed mushroom soup with fried chanterelles


August is here, meaning autumn in Sweden is approaching. Fortunately, being in the final month of summer isn’t all sad, as we are able to sample autumn delicacies such as chanterelles. Today we had this delicious little mushroom in a soup and on a sandwich.

The soup is actually a mushroom soup topped with fried chanterelles since we were too cheap to buy only chanterelles (the price is approximately $30 a kilo). Anyway, here is the recipe. Serves about two persons.

What you need
About 500 grams of button mushrooms
1 onion
1 garlic clove
about 5 cls of Whiskey (or white wine, or just leave it out)
3 stock cubes, I used chicken
100 grams of Celeriac
Olive oil for frying
1 deciliter of cream
Tomato pure
Thyme
Salt
Blackpepper

How to do it
This soup is supposed to be mixed, so no need to fancy it up with nice little cubes or similar. Just peel everything and then roughly chop it.

1. As mentioned above, peel and roughly slice mushrooms, the onion, garlic and celeriac. Fry the vegetables until browned. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and stirr well.

2. Add tomato pure to an empty spot in the pan and let it roast for a little while (maybe 30 secs). Then add the whiskey/wine and use it to de-glaze the pan, eg. get all the burnt stuff in the bottom to let go. Stirr everything well once more.

3. Add water and stock cubes until it covers the vegetables. Then let simmer for about 30 minutes before you add the cream. Let reduce for a couple of minutes. Taste, and season if needed. Then remove from the heat.

4. Mix the soup in a blender or with a hand blender. Serve topped with butter-fried chanterelles, finely chopped parsley and a few drips of olive oil.

The above chanterelle toast is great as a side with the soup. It’s made with more butter-fried chanterelles on top of a grilled slice of sourdough bread.

Sunday breakfast: ‘smashed avo’, feta and chorizo on grilled sourdough


One of my favourite breakfast dishes is the, at the moment (and for some time) quite trendy, ‘smashed avo’ sandwich.

In this weekend’s version I used fried chorizo “crumble” to add some fatty, spicy and meaty crunch to the dish.

What you need (for 2 persons)

1 fresh chorizo (remove the casings)

2 eggs

about 100 grams feta cheese

2 quite thick slices of good quality sourdough bread

1 avocado per person

Fresh Coriander/cilantro

Blackpepper

Salt

How to make it

Fry the de-cased chorizo in olive oil and use a wooden spoon to divide the sausage into small pieces like minced meat for the chorizo crumble. When it’s crisp, turn off the heat and set aside.

Use a griddle pan or an actual bbq to char the sourdough bread. It should have nice char marks but not be too crisp, so a minute or so per side depending on the heat should do the trick. Of course you could just toast the bread as well.

Poach the eggs by adding cracked eggs to just boiling water (with salt and vinegar in the cooking water). Let boil for a minute and a half, then pick them up with a slotted spoon or similar. Set aside while making the final preparations.

Take the pit out of the avocado and mash the flesh together with a little bit of salt. Put the mix on the grilled bread. Crumble feta cheese on top of the avocado and finally a poached egg. Top with the chorizo crumble, coriander and chives.

Serve with a cup of coffee, a bloody mary, or why not a glass of bubbly – it’s still weekend after all!

Spaghetti cacio e pepe


Related to my last post, I decided it was time to have a proper cacio e pepe the other day. 

Cacio e pepe is probably one of the easiest to make dishes while still really delicious. Since I am kind of lazy but still need delicious food, it’s a perfect dish for me.

You need

Spaghetti (preferably good quality)

Pecorino cheese

Black pepper

Salt

How to cook it

Grate pecorino cheese.

Cook spaghetti in salted water until slightly under cooked. Reserve a couple of table spoons of the cooking water before draining the pasta.

Put the pasta back in the cooking pan together with almost all of cheese, the cooking water and pepper. Stirr on low heat until cheese and water has mixed into a velvety sauce around the spaghetti. Season with (plenty of) black pepper and sprinkle the last pecorino cheese on top.

Done! Enjoy!

Risotto cacio e pepe


Got a revelation the other day to try to combine one of my favourite pasta dishes ‘cacio e pepe’ with a risotto. Turned out really well. Below is how to do this cheesy, peppery and smooth risotto cacio e pepe.

Ingredients

Arborio rice or other prefered “risotto rice”

One onion

Garlic

Chicken stock (or vegetable)

Butter

Pecorino cheese

Chives

Cooking the risotto

The recipe is really simple. You make a standard risotto by first frying finely chopped onion and garlic in butter. When cooked till soft (but now browned), add uncooked arborio rice and “toast” for a couple of minutes. Poor in a glass of wine and let it reduce for a bit. Then just add stock (I use chicken stock) in portions (like with the wine let reduce, then add some more) until the rice is done. It should have some bite still in my mind and the risotto should be relatively runny.

Flavouring

Add finely grated pecorino cheese (you could use parmesan but it won’t really be the same), a knob of butter and lots of black pepper to the risotto. Stirr and taste. If taste’s good you’re ready to serve.

I added a layer of grated pecorino at the bottom, then the risotto on top, and then some extra pecorino, black pepper and finely chopped chives on top of the risotto. Enjoy!

Foodetc’s (spaghetti) Bolognese


Bolognese, preferably with spaghetti despite the above pappardelle, is probably my all time favourite dish. Read below for my go to recipe when it comes to the classic. If you want it healthier, remove the bacon and the finishing butter which however do add a lot of taste to the dish.

Recipe is for, roughly, four persons.

What you need
500 grams of minced beef
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 (relatively) small piece of celeriac
50 grams of pancetta/bacon (optional)
3-4 tbsp dried oregano
2 chicken stock cubes
20 cl red wine
1 tin canned tomatoes (I use Mutti finely chopped tomatoes)
butter
sugar (optional)

Serve with
Spaghetti or pappardelle (I use Martelli or De Cecco)
Parmesan cheese
Red wine (sort of optional)

How to cook
1. Peel and dice carrots and celeriac into small cubes, about peanut-sized. Also peel and finely slice garlic and onion.

2. Slice pancetta or bacon (optional) into thin strips. Fry until cooked through, but before it starts to crisp.

 3. If you haven’t used bacon/pancetta heat olive oil in a saucepan or a cast-iron pot. If you have, just add the vegetables to the already hot bacon pan and use its fat to fry. Start with the minced beef, and fry until it is starting to brown.

3a. If you are feeling ambitious set aside, and then fry all the diced and sliced vegetables in olive oil in a separate pan until soft, but not browned.

3b. If you are not feeling ambitious, just chuck the veggies into the beef pot and fry together with the minced beef until soft.

 4. If not already mixed, combine vegetables and fried minced beef into a saucepan. Add canned tomatoes (and some extra water if needed), red wine, stock cubes and oregano. Cover with a lid and let simmer on medium to low heat for at least an hour, but preferably three hours or more. Check and stirr once in a while. Add more water if it gets to dry/reduced. Add a pinch of sugar if needed (taste after 15 minutes or so of cooking).

5. When about 25 minutes remain of the bolognese cooking; add salt to and heat water for the pasta (it should taste almost like sea water). Cook the pasta al dente (check the package for directions if needed).

6. When pasta is almost done, turn off the heat on the bolognese sauce and add a knob of butter (optional but very tasty) as well as some additional oregano to it.

7. When pasta is done, strain it but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Then add spaghetti, bolognese sauce and two or three tablespoons of the cooking liquid (eg. the salt water) in a bowl and mix. You can also add pasta, some of the sauce and cooking water into the pasta pan and cook together on medium heat for about a minute to flavour the pasta with the sauce. It makes the dish much tastier, trust me.

8. Serve sprinkled with grated or shaved parmesan. A glass of red wine is (almost) mandatory with this if you are a wine drinker.