The Brew Chef Travels - Tuscany
Last year at this time we took our first European adventure. We had both traveled out of the country before. I had been to parts of Europe but hadn't made it to Italy. Since my wife is a wine lover, we had to do Tuscany. I was able to find an amazing castle to stay in! Yes, that is right a castle. We stayed at the Castello Di Montalto. We highly recommend staying here. We were a total of 6 travelers and we were able to find a place we could all stay and have our own bathrooms (very important). It also had a great common area we could all hang out. The staff was amazing and coordinating a cooking class to come to us! Our class was so amazing we asked the chef to come back and cook for us the next night. We had a request, we wanted an authentic Cacio e Pepe.
The recipe is not complicated but complicated but combining a simple recipe with quality ingredients and Italian cooking techniques make it amazing. We learned several things while watching the chef make this dish. The freshest ingredients work best. The chef brought fresh parmesan and pecorino from a local market to use as the cheese in this dish. Fresh pasta is a must. Pasta is not hard o make and using fresh bucatini in this makes it perfect! SALT, SALT, SALT! Salting your pasta water is essential. Not just a pinch but enough to make the water taste like the ocean.I heard this in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and it is completely true.
Here is the recipe:
8 ounces bucatini pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (we used a truffle salt we found at a market, you can get it here too)
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta water
Red pepper flakes
Generously salt your pasta water. Start the water boiling, add a little olive oil to keep the noodles separated. When the water is boiling add the pasta. If you are using fresh you will have a very different cook time than if you used packaged pasta. Follow the directions on the package if you are using pasta that isn't fresh. Heat a simmer pan with olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic and let it saute. Add butter, salt and most of the pepper and whisk everything together. Pull it from the heat and start slowly whisking in both cheeses, save some cheese for garnish. Drain the pasta and save 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Then stir in as much of the pasta water to make the sauce the consistency you like. Transfer to serving dishes and sprinkle with remaining cheeses, pepper and red pepper flakes. Buon appetito!