I was pleasantly surprised the first time I made thinly sliced rutabaga cooked with nothing but toasty black pepper and butter. The flavors were earthy, sweet and complex and I ate a whole platter. We make noodles out of all sorts of vegetables (zucchini, carrot) and I wanted to try the same with the rutabaga. Thinking of that peppery goodness, I decided to try to make a version of the Italian cacio e pepe dish which is basically fresh pasta tossed with pasta water, cheese and pepper. I knew the rutabaga would not hold up to the vigorous stirring or have the starch required for the creamy sauce, but figured the flavors would be excellent and this dish did not disappoint. I served it with grilled pork chops with a peach gastrique and bitter green salad. Earthy, summery goodness. —savorthis
rather large rutabaga (sliced yielded about 4 cups)
Peel the rutabaga and trim into a shape that is easy for slicing thinly on a mandoline. I cut mine into two brick shaped pieces that made nice, even shapes. Cut slices into wide noodles.
Melt 2 T butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add rutabaga and a sprinkling of salt and cook until softened. Increase heat and cook until any water is evaporated and rutabaga starts to brown. Remove to a bowl.
Melt remaining butter in pan and grind an even layer of mediumly coarse black pepper across pan. Cook a minute or so until it starts to become fragrant. Add a few tablespoons of water, rutabaga and cheeses and gently toss a few times while cheese melts and dish comes together.