Saturday, August 20

Under The Pergola Column: Caccio e Peppe, a Classic Italian Pasta Dish

Under The Pergola, 
a recipe share:  
Summer Entertaining Made Easy With Caccio e Peppe, Italian Style 
for our annual summer Lobster Bake 
we set the table with black board butcher paper 
and wrote birthday messages with chalk on the paper
photography by Gabriella Stephenson
 Spaghetti Caccio e Peppe At
Our Annual Family Lobster Bake... 
Last weekend, our family spent the week together in our beach cottage in East Hampton before Gabby left college and embark upon her senior year.  These three years literally flew by, and she will graduate in May.  I have heard it gets easier with each passing year to let go of your children, but not for me.  However, it is a consolation to have my family altogether and home under one roof especially in summer.  This dinner was a culmination of birthday celebrations so we made it extra special--our annual Lobster Bake but Stephenson style with little culinary twists.  This year, I decided to make a fresh cucumber, tomato, red onion and basil salad picked straight from my patio garden to go with all the richness of the buttery lobster.  With a band of deer encroaching, we have changed up our annual vegetable garden to a patio potted variety and now our produce is safety secured under the pergola, near the house.  For dinner, we steamed local Long Island corn, and this time of year it is sweet and delicious in its prime.  Next, to go with the buttery rich lobster, I whipped up a traditional Italian Caccio e Peppe.  Basically, it's spaghetti with pepper but it does sound more glamorous in Italian.  If you've ever had the quintessential Italian dish (especially in Italy), it is memorable.  To my surprise, it is made sans garlic (I use garlic in almost all Italian dishes) and it is quite simple to prepare.  It is important to toast the coarse ground pepper and use a very shallow pan of water when boiling the pasta in order to utilize some of that starchy water in the dish.  We started our meal with Randy's grilled clams (on the grill--keeping the grill cover down till they steam open) then tossed in a bowl of olive oil, herbs and garlic.  Even with the delicious lobster (which Randy happily cracks open and prepares for all of us), the pasta managed to be the star of the meal.  That is a tall order because lobster is a coveted dish in summer.  This pasta dish certainly stands alone as an entree, maybe served with a simply dressed green salad.  Please enjoy the recipe, and I hope you are making summer memories!
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
Nest by Tamara's Caccio e Peppe Recipe:
1 lb Barilla Spaghetti
1/4 cup butter
2 TBS good olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiana cheese
1/4 cup coarse black pepper (from the pepper mill)
about 1 full ladle of pasta water
the olive oil and 2 TBS butter in a deep pan on medium till melted.  add the pepper and stir until toasted (you will smell it).  In the meantime, in large pan add a small amount of water (just enough to cover the pasta), boil and add the spaghetti.  When still crunchy (about 2 minutes before box instructions for cooking) take the pasta out of the pan with tongs or a strained ladle.  Add to the pasta stirring constantly.  Add the rest of the butter.  Keep stirring ladle in small amounts of the water until it's not dry. Turn heat down to summer and add the cheese small bits at a time, stirring constantly.  Turn of the heat, taste to see if pasta if cooked and serve immediately.