Cacio e pepe is an already perfect four-ingredient Italian dish. Requiring just pasta (traditionally, tonnarelli is used), finely grated pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and ground black pepper, it takes almost no time at all to make this deceptively simple packed with flavor. So, when Food Network host and chef Giada De Laurentiis put her own twist on cacio e pepe, we didn’t think it was possible to elevate an already perfect dish — but, boy, were we wrong.
“Cacio e Pepe w/ pancetta & arugula I made this am on @thedrewbarrymoreshow!” De Laurentiis wrote.
That’s right, De Laurentiis’ twist on the Italian dish is by sprinkling in diced pancetta and chopped baby arugula.
“In Rome, Cacio e Pepe is as simple as the pasta and the sauce, but I like to give it some more heft with arugula and pancetta,” De Laurentiis writes on her website, Giadzy. “It turns it into a more ‘complete’ meal, and now this is always a family favorite in my house.”
To make De Laurentiis’ Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula dish, you’ll need the aforementioned ingredients, but instead of tonnarelli pasta, De Laurentiis’ recommends creste del gallo pasta — or another curved pasta shape.
You’ll start by boiling the water and cooking the pasta for just under 10 minutes. Drain, but — and this is an important step! — save a cup and a half of the pasta water.
“The star of the show is pasta water, which helps create a really creamy pasta sauce with a blend of Parmesan and Pecorino cheese,” De Laurentiis explains.
Fy up the pancetta, followed by the pepper and toast, then — in this order — the pasta water, the pasta, parmesan cheese, even more pasta water, the pecorino and butter, arugula, and, finally, more pasta water. Phew! Top with grand cheese and you’re set.
Get the full Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula recipe on Giadzy.
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