Are you awake?* | Cacio e Pepe

Late the first night in Rome many years ago, Hades and I wandered.  Blinking in the bright lights of the wedding cake, looking for a spot to grab dinner, tired from our long trip, still adjusting to the time change.  We came across a tiny nameless spot, umbrellas still up outside, despite the late hour.  We stopped in and ordered the first thing on the menu. It was this: spaghetti, copious amounts of finely ground black pepper and pecorino romano.

It is a go-to meal for tired people. It requires not so much thought, but pristine ingredients. Perhaps, when you’re home late one night, don’t have much in the fridge and don’t care much for thinking about what’s for dinner, you’ll give this a try.  You may choose to add a bit of guanciale, or pancetta if it’s lying about.  Perchance an egg yolk.  No one in Rome would approve, of course, but do as you please, it’s late after all.

I am tired.
I am true of heart!

And also:
You are tired.
You are true of heart!**

Cacio e Pepe, serves 4

1 pound of fresh spaghetti, otherwise good quality dried

1 c grated pecorino romano

1 t finely ground black pepper

4 T good quality olive oil

3 egg yolks (optional, make sure they’re good quality)

1/4 c crisp guanciale or pancetta or bacon (optional)

handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente.  Drain, but reserve one and half cups of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, and the remaining ingredients, as many or as few as you wish, adding pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce.

* Playlist included Are You Awake?, by Kevin Shields

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