Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe from Chrissy Teigen’s “Cravings”
You may be coming across this post because you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal to make with very limited ingredients and effort. If so, you’re in luck. If instead you’re coming across this recipe because you love Cacio e Pepe then move on. Because this recipe has as much in common with legit Cacio e Pepe as the “ray-bans” I bought on the side of the street in Las Penitas, Nicaragua do to the real deal. You shouldn’t let that deter you though from making this easy and delicious pasta dish when you’re running short on time.
“Cravings” is Chrissy Teigen’s first cookbook, with the sequel being published in a few weeks. A full review and my thoughts on whether or not it’s worth your hard earned cash are here, but for now let’s focus on the recipe at hand.
I made this pasta dish on a night when the summer festivities had really taken over me. I was mentally and physically exhausted from trying to live my out-of-work hours as if I wasn’t working full time. In other words, I was eating out too much, drinking too much and staying out too late. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you live in seasons.
Summertime is the season where you pack enough crap onto your calendar that you don’t have the time to focus on the really important things (ahem, blogging) because you’re kind of busy attending twelve thousand outdoor concerts with the seventeen million family members in town staying with you. We do this so that the rest of the year we can be completely fine with full hibernation in our homes with our beer and our football and not feel bad about ourselves because we really loaded it in this year.
So back to the recipe. I was tired and flipping through the cookbook with the intention on finding the recipe with the least amount of effort possible because the people at the restaurant down the street literally knew our names at this point and out popped this one. Plus, arugula! I believe that arugula provides the semblance of gourmet and gives the impression that you gave a crap when you made the meal. Because if you didn’t, you’d have just used spinach. Clearly. Flavor-wise, arugula tastes a bit peppery, which makes it easy to overdue so don’t add pepper to a recipe that includes arugula without tasting it first. Or unless you hate the person you’re cooking for.
Serve this recipe with bread. Bread loaded up with garlic salt or if you’re a snob, loaded up with butter with fresh minced garlic with Himalayan sea salt.
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
3 cups baby arugula
Cook spaghetti according to package in heavily salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain.
In large skillet, cook the pancetta over med-high heat until crisped, 7-9 min. Add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Add lemon juice to skillet, then add drained pasta and toss to coat. Add the parm and toss and pasta water, a couple tablespoons at a time so the cheese coats the pasta. Add the arugula and toss until it wilts. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Serve with more parm.