Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

In response to Mr. Steve Lally, who posted a question about this recipe on Rotund Chef's facebook page, here is my recipe and method for Cacio e Pepe. I grew up eating this and Aglio e Olio. When money was tight and we needed to stretch, these two recipes were our go-to's. The same is true today when cooking for my son, or when I have an unexpected guest pop over and it's dinner time. My son and I lovingly call Cacio e Pepe "Dego Mac-n-Cheese". Considering my son hates most cheese, I love that he eats SOME form of macaroni and cheese, even if that's not technically what it is. ;-)


1 lb of pasta, preferably spaghetti or bucatini (I prefer DeCecco, Giada DeLaurentis, Colavita and Anna brands)
1 tsp of dried perpperoncini
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of fresh parmiggiano regiano
1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Fresh basil for garnish


Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt your water and drop your pasta in.

In a large skillet, melt half the stick of butter and drop in your pepperoncini and toast them up.

As your pasta cooks, add about 4-5 ladels of the startchy pasta water to your melted butter and pepperoncini.

Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the water (just in case) and put the almost done pasta directly into the skillet. Turn heat on high and toss to coat until hot and full cooked.

Turn heat to low and add cheeses. If the "sauce" is too think, drizzle in a little more pasta water.

Let stand for 1 minute before serving and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with some fresh basil.

The trick with this dish is to use the seasoned startchy pasta water.

**Side note: I love to throw peas in this recipe (see photo below) and change up the shape of the pasta to make it interesting. Adding peas is very traditional for the part of Italy my family comes from and it takes this dish up a notch. My son loves it!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Quick Style Bolognese Sauce

Episode 1

So to compliment my first video blog, (which you can watch at: www.youtube.com/user/therotundchef), I am giving you the recipe for my Quick Style Bolognese. As I have stated in the video, a proper Bolognese sauce takes 3-4 hours minimum to cook. But I have figured out a shortcut of adding a beef boullion cube to give it that all day taste.

Accompanying the meal is a simple tomato salad with an all purpose vinegarette.

This meal should take 30 minutes start to finish. It's a nice variation of a traditional meat sauce. You can also sneak in veggies to those who don't prefer them also.

This meal cost approximately $5.50 to make and can easily feed 4-5 people a healthy portion.


1 cup of carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 onion
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 lb beef/pork/veal mix
1/4 cup red wine (if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it)
1 beef boullion cube
28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 TBSP dried basil
1 lb hearty pasta such as Bucatini
small bunch chopped parsley
4-6 ladles of startchy pasta water


Take your carrots, celery, onion and garlic and place in the food processor. Pulse until a coarse paste. This is your sofrito, which is the base of the sauce.

Place pan on medium high heat, add 3 TBSP of olive oil. When oil is warm, add your sofrito and cook until tender and the onions are translucent.

Add 1/4 cup of wine and simmer until the alcohol cooks out.

Place entire contents of a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hand. Dump crushed tomatoes into the frying pan with the base. Test for seasoning.

Add beef bouillon, fresh parsley and continue to simmer for 15 mins, or until pasta is done.

Place pasta in boiling SALTED water until about 7/8 to al dente. Drain pasta and add to bolognese sauce. Turn heat on high and toss until completely incorporated and the pasta is done cooking.

Top with parmigiana and fresh parsley.



fresh plum tomatoes cut into 1/4 thick slices
1/2 of a sliced shallot
black pepper
dash onion powder
dash garlic powder
fresh parsley
2 TBSP olive oil
2 capfuls of apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients and toss. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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If you have any questions, comments or want to see something new, leave a comment here or go to the facebook page.

Deliciously yours,
The Rotund Chef