I know you have a bunch of tomatoes sitting on your kitchen counter right now, making you feel guilty each time you walk by them as they slowly soften into spotty mush. Unless, wait: am I the only one who does that? Tomato Season (it …
I know at this very moment you’re quite concerned about your “summer body” (whatever that is), and vowing to give up all pasta and doughnuts and everything else delicious in life for the next month just so you can fit into your swimsuit without being incredibly conscious of the way your cute little stomach roll flops over the top of your tankini bottom when you crouch down to sit beside the pool.
Oh, wait. You don’t do that?
I also know that you make mac and cheese “for the kids” and eat all the leftovers in a moment of carb-craving mania while standing over the pot with a wooden spoon in your hand hoping nobody decides she wants seconds.
You don’t know me.
Look: your stomach’s gonna flop a little. It’s really no big deal. Just eat the pasta already.
Pasta’s at least a once-a-week staple in our house, as I’m sure it is in yours, too, occasional pre-summer body anxiety notwithstanding. But here’s the thing: you know as well as I do that the best pasta in the world–the very best pasta–is what your kids would probably still eat every night of the week, if you’d let them: pasta with butter.
You know I’m right.
BUT WAIT. I can do you one even better: how about pasta with butter AND cheese? Like, a lot of it? But really good quality parmesan to make it not just awesome, but incredible and delicious? And what if that pasta is cooked in super salted water to give it flavor, then topped with tons and tons of ground pepper?
I know. I’m basically asking what it must be like to die and go to heaven, because I’m pretty sure heaven is a place filled with cacio e pepe.
Cacio e pepe: it’s Italian for cheese and pepper, and that’s the simple pasta recipe I’m delivering to your doorstep today. Make it by itself, or pair it with a big salad. Make it on a night when you have a ton of leftovers in your fridge, and serve it with some leftover grilled chicken and that Tupperware of steamed broccoli that no one was going to eat.
Fingers crossed you have enough leftovers. I’ll lend you my wooden spoon.
Cacio e Pepe
Doubled from Gimme Some Oven; Serves 4 (or, in our case, 2 adults and 3 children)
- 1 lb. pasta (spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair)
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 tsp. ground pepper (freshly cracked is best, but straight out of one of those little tins is fine, too)
- 2 2/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan or Parmesan-Pecorino cheese
In a large pot, heat water (only just enough to cover the pasta) to a boil, then salt generously (use lots more salt then you think is necessary–this will help flavor the final dish). Add pasta, then cook to just barely al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta water and set aside, then drain off the rest.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the pepper, and cook for another minute or two. Carefully whisk in the reserved pasta water. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes. Quickly whisk in the grated cheese until it melts–if it starts to clump, don’t worry: it will melt when you add the sauce to the pasta.
Add the sauce to the pasta and, using tongs, combine the two. Make sure to break up any clumps of cheese until it is even distributed throughout the dish.
Serve, with extra pepper to taste.
David turned Still Younger Than I Am last month, and he requested strawberry shortcake for dessert, but not actually a cake, but maybe cupcakes, or something like cupcakes, he said. He’s so lucky I can speak David. I went with strawberry shortcake cupcakes, which was …
You guys, I keep trying to make breakfast happen for my family. My kids, if given their druthers (they’re usually not because “Ugh Mom why do you hafta make us like HEALTHY STUFF??”), would much rather wolf down a couple of bowls of Lucky Charms …
This isn’t really a recipe, you guys. And I know any good nutritionist will tell you that a proper breakfast has green things (heretofore called “vegetables”) in it, but…well, it’s still my breakfast. Every. single. day.
I’ll double up on the green things at lunch, okay?
So excuse the cheating on every level, but I promised you the usual stuff from my family table, so here you go, in all its lame glory.
Here’s what you get: some whole-fat Greek yogurt for protein and to fill you up, a little granola so you don’t gag on the yogurt at 6:30 a.m. (#truth), and a serving of fruit with a little coconut for good happy measure. BOOM. Done.
This is in our kids’ breakfast rotation two or three days out of the school week (we save the sugary cereal for the weekends. I’ll let you guys guess which days are their favorites). The only modifications are that we add a little bit of honey to their yogurt for sweetness, and I’ll put ramekins of toppings on the table so they can choose their own, buffet-style: granola, raisins, bananas or berries, cinnamon, unsweetened coconut flakes and sometimes mini chocolate chips. They never, ever complain about being hungry at school those days.
(Though they’ll deny this in a heartbeat if it means Lucky Charms could be on the menu. I keep trying, friends. I keep trying.)
Here’s the version I make for myself:
Breakfast Yogurt Bowl
- 1/2 cup whole-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup granola*
- 1 serving of fruit, such as 3-4 sliced strawberries, or 1 sliced banana sprinkled with a little cinnamon, to taste**
- 1 T unsweetened flaked coconut
Scoop yogurt into a bowl. Mix in granola, then top with fruit and coconut. Enjoy.
* I have never loved a packaged granola more than I love The Granola Factory’s Cherry Almond Quinoa granola. This isn’t an ad–it’s just straight Leah Truth. There’s no funny stuff in the ingredients, and it’s sweet enough that I can use on plain yogurt without adding any other sweetener. If you can’t find it on the shelves of your local Wegmans (where I buy it), it’s because I’ve already cleaned them out.
**Some other fruit options for you: 1/4 cup of blueberries, 1/2 c. chopped mango, a chopped apple sautéed in butter or coconut oil and a little cinnamon and sugar and cooled, 1/4-1/2 cup chopped peaches or other stone fruit. Try your best to use fruit that’s in season for optimum breakfast awesomeness.
Here’s a lunch recipe for you if, like me, you are are a delightful weirdo who enjoys Food in Bowls. I’m the only person in my family who likes food this way: eaten from a big vessel, all piled together, like a salad but more …
My girls take a snack to school every day, and it’s turned into a struggle. If they had their druthers, they’d happily eat nothing but yogurt-in-a-tube or Swedish fish every day of their lives, but, unfortunately for them, they don’t have their druthers. They have …