Mario Batali makes some great tasting food. I’ve followed this Cacio e Pepe recipe before & it was delicious. It incorporates 2 things I love, Cheese & Black Pepper. This time, I added 5 more ingredients to the recipe just because I wanted to. They are not necessary, but boy was the pasta mmmm mmmm good when it was done. This is my interpretation of Cacio e Pepe mixed in with everything else I love. Come on, who doesn’t love more cheese & BACON!!! Oh yeah, and all the mushrooms add a delightfully earthy taste to the pasta.
Cacio e Pepe – adapted from Mario Batali
1 pound spaghettii
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bags of Enoki Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
1 box of Beech Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
3 Slices Muenster Cheese
5 Slices of Bacon
2 Plum Tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Boil a pot of water to cook your pasta. Follow instructions on the box to make al dente pasta. Reserve one cup pasta water. Drain the rest in a colander & rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Heat up a little olive oil into a large frying pan. On medium heat, add garlic & cook it down for a minute. Then add Enoki & beech mushrooms & sprinkle with sea salt to season. Cook until they are all soft.
Add the butter & pepper. Evenly mix until butter is melted.
Add your pasta & mix. Then add your cheeses. The Muenster gets a little clumpy, so try to break them apart with your spoon. If the pasta is a little dry, you can add a little of the pasta water you had saved earlier.
In a separate frying pan, cook your bacon until they are cripsy. Drain all oils & blot excess on a paper towel. When it is cool to the touch, rough chop them.
Arrange plum tomatoes on top of pasta. Cover pan for 2 minutes to steam the tomatoes.
Finally, sprinkle bacon on top, and you are all set.
I will call this a (Con)fusion Beef Cabbage Roll. Why?
I basically combined a predominantly European dish (stuffed cabbage) with a Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage) & stuffed it with a Spanish/Portuguese filling (empanada filling).
Guess what? It was absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch. You will need to like cumin, otherwise you will have to substitute with another spice. Omit the cheese if you want this to be Paleo.
Paleo Beef Stuffed Cabbage Roll – adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen & Dee Dee Pujols
1.5 lb (24oz) Napa Cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 lb (24oz) Ground Beef
1 tablespoon garlic salt (I used 1 tablespoon garlic powder plus 1 teaspoon sea salt instead)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices Muenster Cheese, cut each slice into 8 pieces (omit if Paleo)
Boil a pot of water with enough space to immerse your entire cabbage head.
Core the cabbage with a knife to loosen all the leaves. Put entire head into boiling water. Boil for ~8-10 minutes (depending on how large your cabbage head is). When the cabbage is soft, drain in a colander & let cool.
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef & garlic salt. Cook until the beef is cooked through. Drain the grease & put beef in a clean bowl.
In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, garlic & black pepper. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined & cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef & combine with the sauce over low heat for 5 minutes. The mixture should be moist.
Overlap 2 pieces of cabbage on a plate. Add 3 small pieces of cheese. Add 2 heaping spoonful of the beef. Roll the stem in towards the middle. Fold sides to the middle. Then, roll up to secure.
And there you have it. This tasty bundle of goodness.