Friends, Romans, Countrymen…

On March 27th, 1861, Rome was officially declared the capital of Italy (despite its not actually being a part of the kingdom yet – details, schmetails). Growing up, my favorite cuisine was Italian. I look for any excuse to dive into a bowl of pasta! Seeing this on the calendar excited and inspired me.

Having a mother who has spent a great portion of her adult life working for an airline afforded us inordinate privileges and opportunities growing up. By the time I graduated high school, I had seen more of the world than your average teenager. We traveled to Rome for Spring Break the year after I graduated college. The history was incomparable, but the food was even more exquisite. To this day, I still remember the quattro formaggi pizza I enjoyed at a local eatery (I know pizza isn’t innately Italian, but it was the most perfect pizza I’ve had in my entire life). And yes, I enjoyed gelato after every meal.

This past week I came across a simple recipe for classic cacio e pepe from Food Network Magazine. Cacio e pepe is a basic pasta recipe originating from Rome. It’s only four ingredients, but oh so delightful. Pasta, olive oil, cracked black pepper, and Pecorino Romano. That’s it. It’s like a simplified mac & cheese, but the romance happens in the method. Some of the pasta water is even incorporated into the sauce to help melt and bind the peppery cheese to the noodles for a punch of flavor in every bite.

I will warn you however. Follow the instructions and practice patience. The instructions specified to add the cheese in batches so as to cause it to melt evenly as opposed to clumping. I may have gotten a little too excited with my second batch and I would up with slight clumping. It all tasted great in the end and I just topped mine with a little extra cheese, so no harm done!

What’s one of the most exciting places you’ve ever visited (domestic or abroad)?


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