Cacio e Pepe Recipe!

A few years ago, I wrote about the delicious cacio e pepe dish I had in New York City. I rhapsodized over the simple-yet-blow-your-mind combo of pasta, pepper, and cheese. Well, food blogger extraordinaire, Smitten Kitchen, recently dined at another NYC-based Italian restaurant (apparently there’s more than one, imagine that), had the same dish, had the same delirious feelings of love towards it, and has written up a recipe to make it at home.

Looks faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous. And ridiculously easy. I’d pair it with a nice, dry red wine, and a salad with some orange slices, sliced almonds, and a bit of more Romano cheese. Oh and that would make me SO happy!

Guest Post: Bacon Dinner Club

Everyone enjoys a little stalking, right? So when I saw on Facebook that my NYC-based friend Kyra (of the dating blog Gotard City) had posted pictures of a Bacon Dinner Club, I immediately demanded the story. So here goes the first ever Stalking Sarah guest post! Thanks, Kyra!

A little over a year ago, my friends and I decided to start a Dinner Club based on our mutual love of the Food Network, cooking, and most importantly, eating. We choose a new theme or key ingredient (basil, citrus, the color white, tapas,  desserts, etc) and we get together once a month to cook and eat together. It’s usually an all-day affair.

Dinner Club’s important to me for a number of reasons: It’s an opportunity to make socially acceptable bad decisions in the form of food. I like to eat. I love to eat. Tasting delicious food is one of the best pleasures in life. It’s fun to see all my friends together. We get to play board games and catch up. I get to play hostess and show off all my materialistic crap that I’ve acquired from Crate & Barrel. And, I get to learn more about cooking and try new foods.

A few years ago, I started dating someone named Movies. After a while, he got to be a part of Dinner Club, too. None of my friends were particularly amazed by him, but none of them really disliked him either. And at the end of the day, though, I’m the Kim Jong Il of Dinner Club, so if I wanted my boyfriend there, he was gonna be included.

Unfortunately, Movies’ picky eating habits had never been squashed by his parents, so he often violated the “try new foods” mandate of dinner club. On numerous occasions, he’d make a passing comment about not wanting to try someone’s dish. Whenever we circulated the tentative menu before the actual Dinner Club date, Movies would send a note reminding us that he didn’t like certain foods.

The biggest point of contention among us Dinner Clubbers was bacon. Continue reading

The World’s Best Appetizer

When I die, there’d best be a plate of these in the waiting room for heaven:

Tri-Color Yum

Ingredients: sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzerella, fresh basil, & french bread

You can get sundried tomatoes in jars at your local grocer, or buy at a fancy food store. Slice the mozzerella as thinly as possible and top with fresh basil leaf. Toothpick optional. It’s important to put the sundried tomato on the bread first, as it sops up all the delicious juices very nicely.

Quick & Easy Chickpea Salad

(Amounts are equal to three gallons (feeds about 40-50); adjust to your party’s size!)

6 cucumbers, peeled & chopped

4 cans black olives, sliced

4 large cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large container of crumbled feta (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, add salt and pepper, then drizzle olive oil & balsamic vinegar to taste. If preparing in advance, chop everything but keep it separate until just before the event.

Cacio e Pepe

I can’t pretend that I have the time, energy, financial resources, or stomach capacity to try every dish in a restaurant. But sometimes, one dish is enough.

Cacio e Pepe, located in the East Village in New York City, bills itself as having “Creative Roman Cuisine.” The dish I had, Tonnarelli cacio e pepe was definitely that– Italian, but beyond Italian.

The perfectly al dente pasta was brought to the table in a huge, hollowed-out round of pecorino romano cheese. In the hollow, our server mixed and turned the pasta (already wonderfully coated in a light cream sauce), scooping up the romano as he did it.

The pasta, placed onto our plates in a neat ball, was delicious– light, creamy, and with a thorough (yet not overpowering) cheese taste. Lest it be a pleasant yet unremarkable dish, the pasta had been seasoned generously with pepper. Fantastic.

Overall: YYYYY (out of five)
Prices: NYC-cheap, which is to say that the dish was around $12 bucks. Cheapest wine (but still excellent) was $9/glass
Atmosphere: Cozy yet formal.
Dress code: It’s New York– wear whatever you want. But business casual would be appropriate.
Great place to go for… New Year’s Eve.

Cacio e Pepe
182 Second Avenue
NY, NY 10003

New menus daily.