Tag Archives: cacio e pepe


This pasta dish is from ancient Rome and Bourdain’s recipe is all over the internet with multiple videos. I watched. I was inspired. I tried it a few days ago.

My notes were so unreadable I was mostly by-gosh and by-guessing it. And you will be too if you follow what I write here. Still, I enjoyed the results. Probably it is good if you like pepper. The recipe, as copied by me, is at the end of this post

According to a recent interview in the New York Times, Bourdain say “one of the benchmarks of a great food writing is to be very knowledgeable, but never a snob.” I’m never a great food writer, but I do try to follow this advice. His most famous book is Kitchen Confidential (which I have not read). His latest book is Appetites, out last year. I’ve yet to look at that one, too. But I have good intentions.

What took my attention in his interview was that he called Charles Portis’s True Grit, a masterpiece and named it as the last great book he had read. It is one of my all-time favorites. He mentioned the dialogue. I completely agree and am always going on about: if you want to know how people talked in the Old West, read this book. Since Bourdain loves this book, I am now his greatest fan. Two other authors he named as worthy are favorites of mine: Elmore Leonard and Daniel Woodrell. And in addition James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces made him furious it was so bad, piled with falsehoods. Again, I could not read that book without losing my lunch in the bathroom. Well, that’s a bit strong and snobbish, but true.

So, now that I’ve bonded with Bourdain over his reading preferences, I had to try his favorite pasta dish, cacio e pepe. And I’ll be looking up his books.

Anthony Bourdain’s cacio e pepe
Transcribed by Paulette from internet videos

In a small to medium skillet, heat 1-2 Tablespoons oil and ½ teaspoon pepper until it sizzles. This doesn’t take long and is easy to burn. (Anyhow that’s what happened to me.) set it aside, off the heat.

In a larger skillet put about ¼ pound spaghetti and water just to cover along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring some, until al dente. My package said 9 minutes and it was just right. Drain the pasta and save the pasta water.

Into the larger skillet, put a few tablespoons of pasta water, and 1 Tablespoon of butter and the olive oil pepper mix. Add the cooked, drained pasta and 1-2 ounces good freshly grated Parmesan.

Shake and stir. Add pasta water if needed, a splash at a time. Serve on plate, drizzle with oil if desired and top with more grated cheese, another tablespoon or two.

For me, too much cheese is impossible, but perhaps not.

Post created by me, the new Anthony Bourdain fan.