Monday, January 16, 2017

Spaghetti Pie - Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie

I've been in Minnesota for a long time now. Longer than my many years in New York City. And something has happened - I look forward to January. You may wonder - do I really look forward to temps colder than the arctic? And snow that stays from December through April? Have I lost my mind? Maybe.

I like the slow pace. Darkness comes and I am inside with my writing pencil and my books. I am not conflicted - wondering if I should be outside weeding, flicking Japanese beetles off my plants, exercising outside or replanting when the warmth comes. I have two boards on Pinterest that are seemingly the same: "Gezellig"  (Dutch for that warm cozy feeling that candles and fireplaces and purring cats give you) and "Slow Living" - for those moments that beg you to slow down.

I have a list of 12 "slows" that I read every morning - slow-money, slow-exercise, there's even a "slow journalism" - where you read the effects of a newsworthy article weeks even months later - after the dust settles. There's an English periodical devoted to that. The anti-twitter. I am liking that idea a lot.

And then there's the food. Bye-bye lean meats and 1,000 variations on a wedge salad. Hello pasta and melted cheese. Hello spaghetti pie - Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie to be exact. I made this Christmas Eve. There were 35 people in my home so I took a slice and hid it for when I would have time to savor it. I'm glad I did. The pie was gone in an instant.

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie - serves 4-8 depending on size and appetite of human being eating it
(From Food and Wine)

1 pound spaghetti
1-1/2 cups milk (you really need about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about two cups)
6 ounces sharp, white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
butter for greasing pan

My Hidden Slice of Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cook spaghetti until al dente.

In a bowl, mix pasta, milk, Parmigiano, eggs, pepper, salt and 1-1/2 cups of the Fontina and cheddar.* Scrape into a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Fontina and cheddar on top.

*even though I wrapped aluminum foil around the springform pan and put it on a pan to collect excess milk, the milk came pouring out. I would either use less milk or drain most of the milk that the pasta did not absorb before scraping all into the springform pan.

Bake the pie for 35-40 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Turn on the broiler. Broil the pie eight inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes until browned on top.*

*I did not broil the pie. I baked it for 40 minutes and had enough browned, crunchy cheese on top!

Transfer to a rack and let it cool for fifteen minutes. Remove the ring, cut the pie into wedges and serve.

It works as a side but now that it is indeed January - this works for me as a main dish. You can lie to yourself and balance it with a salad and say "See, healthy eating."

I don't make crazy resolutions. I do make "think, Claudia, think" notes. Remember all those years of fearlessly declaring how multi-tasking was the future? I am now thinking, one-thing-at-a-time. There's something to be said for being the tortoise and not the hare.

Pino has the right idea. A box and a little sun. Sometimes that's all you need. And a little spaghetti pie.


Angie's Recipes said...

That looks incredibly delicious and comforting. I guess other kinds of pastas would work too. I would go pour myself a glass of wine with this irresistible pie for the dinner!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'm in agreement about those winter months. When I'm outside, weeding in May, I wonder what did I do with all the time in the winter? One thing I know for sure - I will be making that spaghetti pie!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I wonder if Pino will make room in that box for me? Looks like a great place to hang out! Fun dish -- I've heard of this, but never had it. Or of course made it. I think this would be a main for me, too. But then, it's January! :-)

We Are Not Martha said...

I like this time of year, too, but I think I'd like it a whole lot more if I didn't have to leave my house and go to work every day. I'd make such a good hermit :) This "pie" looks so awesomely delicious!!


Mister Meatball said...

Va bene!

Chef Mimi said...

What a great post! And I love the baked pasta. Reminds me of an old recipe I made. That was called spaghetti pie. Not Italian, but boy was it good!

Jeff the Chef said...

I just stumbled onto your blog, and I'm glad that I did. Like you, I'm a former New Yorker - and like you, I love MN (I was just in Mnpls a few days ago). I'm a Chicagoan now, though. Anyway, I've heard of spaghetti pie many times, but I've never seen a white version like yours. (I don't get out much in terms of Italian food, so I have no idea if this is novel, or if I am naïve.) In any case, it looks delicious. I'm eager to give it a go.

Frank said...

I'm like you, Claudia. I love those days when the weather provides a reason for taking time for quiet enjoyment. And what can I say about the spaghetti pie? It looks unbelievably good. Not surprised it disappeared in a flash.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

I want to try this today :) looks so good! Thanks Claudia

Nancy said...

I made this today and used the 1 1/2 c. milk. I am an experienced cook but this was a mess. Used my springform pan that I've used with no problem for years. It leaked. Everywhere. What did I do wrong?? You say you really only need 1/2 c. milk. But the recipe calls for 1 1/2. I'm confused! Help! I really want this to work. I think my family will love it. Thank you!

Claudia said...

)My milk also spilled all over (and I double wrapped the springform pan with tin foil. That's why I suggested 1/2 cup. I think the solution is: 1. less milk - 1/2 cup or 2. use a deep dish pan with no leakage. I reduced the milk. It was delicious but there is no way the pan could sustain 1-1/2 cups of milk (in my world). My milk spilled out before I put in the oven so I learned my lesson early!

Chef Mimi said...

This is almost like a pasta frittata! I first learned about a spaghetti frittata in a Lorenza de Medici cookbook, where she used leftover spaghetti. Brilliant!

chow and chatter said...

looks tasty and I love that you saved a slice to savor.