Cooking is as close to meditation as i’m going to get. I can’t for the life of me figure out how people actually clear their mind of all thought – don’t you at the very least have to be thinking about not thinking? or does that not count? and whats really the point of not thinking? Clearly, I am not cut out for the path to enlightenment but who’s to say a big bowl of Cacio e Pepe isn’t nirvana itself?
Calvin Trillin wrote a brilliant piece recently about waking up in the middle of the night, troubled by the current events of the day, and instead of not thinking,(b/c that leaves room for the bad thoughts to creep back in, he thinks about the number of shrimp consumed in Las Vegas on a daily basis. This I get. Think about something that piques your interest enough to drive out the bad thoughts but is so random and weird that you would really have to try and bring it back to whatever distressing thought woke you up in the first place. Since I wake up at 4am on the reg, I will have to try this technique and will report back.
But first, on this dreary inauguration eve I can’t think of anything better than a big bowl of creamy and oh so cheesy Cacio e Pepe w/ a side of garlicky and slightly bitter broccolini. Oh, and its 60,000lb in case you were wondering. Thats 60,000lbs of shrimp a day, more than is consumed by the rest of the country combined. Now thats something to think about.
But if you are set of wallowing in depressing thoughts, I highly recommend this – White House photographer Pete Souza’s final year in review. The pictures are really beautiful and feel like a nice way to appreciate what we had and turn the page.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 tbl unsalted butter
- 2-3 tsp cracked black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 16oz broccolini or broccoli rabe, cut into roughly bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbl cracked black pepper
- 1lb broccolini (or broccoli rabe)
- 1 lb bucatini (or spagetti)
- 2 cups freshly grated pecorino romano
- salt and pepper
- Put water on to boil for the pasta - use less water than you usually do here because we want extra starchy water for the sauce.
- Heat a large saute pan with the olive oil and butter and once bubbling, add the garlic and pepper, stirring until the edges of the garlic start to brown. Immediately add the broccolini and a generous sprinkle of salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook until tender but still firm.*
- Salt the pasta water once it is at a rolling boil then add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1.5 cups of the Pecorino Romano and black pepper and ladle in about a ½ cup of pasta water, stirring constantly to help emulsify the two into a kind of paste.
- Add the pasta and toss to coat completely before mixing in the greens.
- Serve immediately with a final flourish of cheese and black pepper.