Cacio e Pepe, A Taste of Rome

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe collage

Learning how to cook an Italian classic.


This is one of those recipes that is so easy it hardly even needs a recipe. It has a list of 3 ingredients (maybe four, but more on that later) and is just only slightly more complicated than boiling pasta. But despite it’s basic-ness Cacio e Pepe one of the most delicious and satisfying pasta dishes ever dreamed up. In fact, when my husband and I were in Rome this last summer we of course made it a point to eat as much great food as possible (no surprise there). Despite the many absolutely amazing meals we had, the one we returned to on our last night (and we were both in total agreement) was a bowl of Cacio e Pepe, a slow-roasted porchetta sandwich, a simple salad and a glass of wine from a little stand down by the Tevere which was set up as part of a summer festival along the river. Last meal in Rome? No contest. Okay maybe dining al fresco by the light of a full moon, bathed in the special magic of one of our favorite cities had something to do with it, but the food really was perfect.  Continue reading

You Need to Make This! Jackson Fillmore’s Zucchini Carpaccio

Jackson Fillmore is one of our favorite casual little trattorias in San Francisco. It’s the kind of place where we have fallen in love with certain dishes and, despite being tempted to try a special or something new off the menu, we always end up ordering the same thing. One of the dishes we always get is the zucchini carpaccio, a simple and delicious starter of zucchini, toasted almonds, pecorino cheese and parsley. It’s really, really delicious. I might even add one more “really” for good measure.

I recently threw a bridal shower and thought it would be a perfect addition to the summery buffet I had planned. As luck would have it, I found that Jackson Fillmore had posted an excellent video on this very dish and how to make it.  I love this recipe so much I wanted to share it with all of you. There is minimal cooking involved, just the toasting of almonds (they use slivers, I like sliced). As the video points out, the way you cut the zucchini and the pecorino is the key to the dish. After some of my own experimentation, I like the end result of cutting the zucchini on the bias in slices about 1/8″ thick and then stacking and cutting the slices on the bias again into matchsticks. As far as the pecorino goes, just shave it into curls with a vegetable peeler.

A lot of little ones I know seem to like the flavor of dry, salty cheeses like Parmegiano Reggiano and Pecorino. So as long as you have no nut allergies to contend with, this would be a great one to add to your repertoire. You can get older kids into the act by having them make the cheese curls and tossing everything all together at the end (in the video, he tosses everything in a hot pan, but I usually add the toasted almonds to a bowl with the zucchini and toss off-heat).

This dish is best served right away while everything is still warm and toasty from the almonds, but you could definitely cut the zucchini and shave the pecorino a bit in advance to simplify things as you’re putting the rest of dinner together.

Give it a try.  You’ll love it!

Video Courtesy of Jackson Fillmore.