This recipe is a little twist on the classic Roman dish, “Cacio e Pepe”, which in Italian means, cheese and pepper. It’s traditionally made with three main ingredients, pasta, Pecorino Romano and crushed black pepper, there’s a little debate on using butter or olive oil, I use a combination, and never are there any added vegetables to the dish.
It’s simple and easy and most definitely comfort food at it’s finest!
Like I said this is a twist on the classic, so in my version I decided to replace the pasta with wonderful spaghetti squash and for color and added depth of flavor I tossed in slightly cooked and wilted asparagus ribbons.
The same bold and creamy flavor of the Pecorino Romano comes out and balances the spiciness of the coarsely crushed fresh peppercorns just like in the traditional version.
I repeat, crushed fresh peppercorns!
Please don’t use that stuff that’s been sitting on a shelf for ages and looks consistently the same when you sprinkle it on, it will ruin the dish.
The asparagus is simply shaved with a vegetable peeler and then slightly wilted in a saute pan then scattered about all over the top.
Remember, the cheese and pepper are the key ingredients in this recipe, so don’t be shy!
I promise you won’t even miss the pasta!
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
- 1 lb asparagus, on the thicker size, not thin,shaved with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra drizzle for sauteing asparagus
- ¾ cup of coarsely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Coarsely crushed fresh peppercorns, to taste. Don't be shy!
- Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Drizzle inside of each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on parchment and cook until a knife goes through easily, be careful not to overcook.
- Let squash cool completely then shred with a fork to get long strands.
- Place squash strands on a paper towel to get the dampness out for a few minutes.
- Drizzle a saute pan with olive oil and place asparagus ribbons in tossing them until wilted and bright green. Remove so they can stop cooking.
- In the same saute pan add the 2 tablespoons of butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toss in the spaghetti squash strands and the ¾ cup of coarsely grated Pecorino, tossing gently until heated through and cheese starts to melt, also add in some cracked pepper while tossing. If it seems to thick add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.
- Place on a platter, arrange asparagus ribbons all around and add the finely grated pecorino all over and more pepper.
- Finish off with a quick drizzle of olive oil.