spaghetti cacio e pepe


the venison was aborted


It was Sunday, and I was going to prepare a meal which would have included two beautiful fallow deer chops, from the Union Square Greenmarket, and two late-season vegetables.  I had a great time putting together a rich sauce, with a complex faux-venison stock, but 2 or 3 hours in, all wheels stopped when I reached for the venison in the refrigerator and realized I hadn’t taken them out of the freezer.

I dotted the sauce with butter, put it into the refrigerator, returned the vegetables there, and Barry carefully re-corked the luscious Sicilian wine we had anticipated revisiting, and placed it in the icebox as well.  Yes, I also transferred the chops from the freezer and set them near the wine.

It was now late in the evening and I had to come up with an alternative, ideally as satisfying as the meal originally planned, and one which required very little preparation time.

My answer this time was cacio e pepe, to which I was introduced almost exactly 14 years ago, by Amander Hesser, and the former Mr. Latte, and which I have cherished ever since.

It was as sturdy as a venison dinner, and no less delicious.  We had the venison the following day, so I suppose I could also call this a primi.

  • the simple recipe is in the link, “I was introduced”, above, and the ingredients this time included 10 ounces of Setaro spaghetti chitarra from Buon Italia (I didn’t have bavette, or linguini fini, but we’re not religious about shapes in this house), Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino Romano cheeses, also from Buon Italia, and unsalted ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘
  • the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Saladini Pilastri Falerio 2014, from Phillippe Wines
  • the music was Pier Francesco Cavalli’s ‘Xerxes’, with Rene Jacobs both conducting and singing the title role, as countertenor