So here’s how it goes: You come home late, tired and worn out. You don’t have anything in the fridge.* You certainly don’t want to chop anything, or dirty too many dishes. You have enough piled up in the sink already, thankyouverymuch.

Sound familiar? Let me introduce you to your new best friend:

Step 1: Grab a big pot, turn on the faucet and fill it up with enough water to boil the pasta. Turn on the heat, salt generously, and put a lid on it.

Step 2: Take off your shoes. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and relax on the couch.

Step 3: When the water boils, it’s time for your ten minutes of work. Place the pasta in the pot, and set your timer. Grate half a cup of parmesan cheese. Done? Pat yourself on the back; the hardest part is behind you. Now, either coarsely grind 8-10 peppercorns with a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle or other device, or just smash them with the back of a pan (I’ll let you guess which route I took). Next, place the peppercorns in a dry pan over medium heat. A minute later, add a ladle of the pasta water and give it a few seconds. Then, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and allow it to melt. The pasta should be done now (if not, keep the sauce at a gentle simmer, adding more pasta water if necessary; you want a nice amount of liquid). Using tongs, add the pasta to the pan, and toss until well coated. Stir in the cheese.

Step 4: Serve yourself a bowl and go back to that couch. Pick up a book, or turn on the television, and thank your lucky stars that something this simple tastes this good.

*you do have pasta, parmesan and butter (as you very well should, since they last forever, and can help you out of many empty-fridge situations).


Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Adapted from the Amateur Gourmet, based on a recipe by Mark Ladner.

(Check out Adam’s post for step-by-step pictures and a video demo by Chef Ladner).

Prep Time: 10 minutes/ Serves: 3-4


1 lb/ 450g spaghetti

½ cup parmesan

8-10 peppercorns

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions: See above.