Cacio e pepe is one of my favorite Roman pasta preparations. It's insanely easy, and only requires that the quality of your ingredients be at an all-time high. Recently, I've begun experimenting with some flourishes. While most additions have proven unnecessary, sweet shredded butternut squash was a perfect compliment to the sharp, salty cheese. With a little butter and cream, my everyday Cacio e Pepe has gotten a lot more decadent. —PhoebeLapine
3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and coarsely shredded
In a medium non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Sauté the squash, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the white wine and continue to sauté until the squash has absorbed the liquid, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and cook gently for an additional few minutes, until the squash has fully softened, but is not falling apart. Fold in 1/4 cup of pecorino and remove from the heat.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente—if using fresh, this will only take a few minutes, if not, follow package directions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large bowl, combine the squash mixture, the black pepper, and the remaining pecorino. Add the drained pasta and toss to combine, adding some of the cooking liquid as necessary to create a creamy sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary. Garnish with additional cheese and another grind of black pepper. Serve immediately.
Phoebe is a writer, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, award-winning blogger, and author of The Wellness Project. You can find her healthy comfort food and gluten-free finds on www.FeedMePhoebe.com