I was home ‘alone’ last week, and alternated between eating healthy and abstaining from wine on the nights I was actually all alone, to cooking gnocchi in cheese sauce or frying eggplant Parmesan and guzzling down the nectar of the gods in copious quantities on the nights I was with friends. There really is no in between for me…. abstinence or gluttony, all or nothing, feast or famine… give me life or give me death!
Regarding my previous post on learning the art of driving stick-shift, I failed miserably at my mission and will be requiring a lot more practice. I thought I could handle jostling my boyfriend’s car around the local streets all week in accordance with NYC street-cleaning/parking regulations. However, I failed to even work up enough ballz to attempt to move the car, and had to enlist the help of my brother-in-law to move it into the parking garage. I thought I could handle it, but freaked out when I thought about accidentally flooring it with the clutch and gas, and hitting a car parked to the front or back, or stalling out in the middle of the street or intersection. I guess learning to master stick will be another goal for me in 2019.
We finally got some winter weather in NYC, although not the snow that was predicted earlier in the week – just bitter temperatures. My family (upstate) got around 18″ of the snow over the course of Saturday and Sunday. Naturally, after setting my sites on a weekend filled with glorious walks in the snow and an opportunity to camp out at home, the carpet was ripped out from under me, and temperatures were in the 40s. The weather channel predicted significant snowfall in NYC up until Friday, when the forecast suddenly called for rain. It rained all night on Saturday, and then by late Sunday night, temperatures plummeted to single-degrees.
I almost lost my favorite hat (pictured above ^^^) on Monday, when I had way too much fun at a friend’s birthday brunch party… (i.e. way too much to drink) and walked out into the 6 degree night without my hat to get into the Uber. Thankfully the restaurant had my hat when I called the next day… a true miracle. Only I would lose my warmest and most valuable hat on the coldest night of the year…. I am a mess. I guess this was karma for the fact that another friend and I accidentally took someone else’s hat by mistake on our Saturday night escapades… oopsie 😉
After my boyfriend finally returned home from Italy, I decided to make a nice pasta dish to celebrate: cacio e pepe. A classic Roman staple, this is a simple dish, using only a few ingredients, but perfect comfort food and maximum taste for a winter day.
- 1 box thick spaghetti (or bucatini, or linguini… whatever floats your boat)
- Salt (to season boiling pasta water)
- 2 tsp freshly ground black Pepper
- 4 Tbs. Butter
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (more if desired)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (more if desired)
- Heat large pot of well-salted water over high heat (bring to a boil); in the meantime;
- Melt butter over low heat, in a LARGE saucepan
- Add freshly ground black pepper to butter, and continue to cook over lowest possible heat…. do not burn the butter!
- Once water is at a heavy boil, add in pasta and cook until al dente (pasta box should provide cook times for al dente and fully done)
- Stir pasta occasionally to prevent it from clumping together,
- Once pasta is al dente, turn off heat, and using a measuring cup or ladle, spoon about 1/3 cup of pasta water from pot and add into the saucepan with the butter and pepper
- Set aside additional pasta water – you may need a bit more later…
- Drain the pasta and add the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce continuing to cook over low heat and stirring continuously
- Add in (or if you’re like me, grate in directly) the cheese…. it is important the cheese is distributed evenly or it will also clump
- Keep stirring and cooking over low heat, until moisture is absorbed by pasta and cheese integrates into sauce
- Stir in olive oil, add more cheese or water as necessary… the sauce should be rich and fairly thick but still viscous
- Grate more cheese over pasta when serving!