Chef Napolitano Shares the Recipe for Prospect’s Cacio e Pepe
Foodies of the Hudson Valley, here’s one for you! Executive Chef, Alex Napolitano shares one of Prospect restaurant’s signature dishes.
To learn more about Chef Napolitano, be sure to check out our exclusive interview where we talk about living and working in the Hudson Valley. Let us know if you try this dish, it looks amazing!
Prospect’s Cacio e Pepe By Chef Alex Napolitano
My version of Cacio e Pepe begins with a blend of black peppercorns, green peppercorns, white peppercorns, and pink peppercorns. They are toasted separately, then ground together to create the backbone of the dish. Next is the least “classic” ingredient: Parm stock. Parm stock is how I insert a deep umami flavor into seemingly simple dishes. It is the “secret” to many of the pasta dishes here at the restaurant. Parm stock is made by wrapping Parmigiano or grana Padano rinds/scraps in cheesecloth then simmering them low and slow in a large stockpot of water. What is left is a tangy, umami-rich liquid that is a huge step up from “plain” water. This seemingly insignificant ingredient is often the difference between a good dish and a great one. Other than the pepper mix and parm stock, the only ingredients left to create the Cacio e Pepe are ground pecorino romano, butter, and extra virgin olive oil.
- A pinch of ground pepper mix: black, green, white and pink peppercorns
- Parm stock (see details above about this great cooking hack!)
- Ground pecorino romano
- A small pat of butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pasta of your choice
Because the ingredients are so few and simple, the method becomes extremely important to the proper execution of the dish.
- First, place a saute pan over medium heat.
- Next, toast a nice pinch of the ground pepper mix in the pan for a few seconds and deglaze with parm stock.
- At this point, the pasta of your choice should be dropped in simmering, heavily seasoned water.
- Let the stock simmer for a minute or two to fully infuse with the pepper, then add the pasta to the pan of stock and pepper.
- Next, let the pasta finish cooking in the liquid until it is about 2⁄3 of the way absorbed. This infuses the flavor of the stock into the pasta itself and also releases the starches to begin the emulsification or “marriage” of the sauce.
- At this point, lower the heat as low as it will go, and begin tossing the pasta with ground pecorino romano and a small pat of butter. When the dairy begins to emulsify into the starchy liquid/pasta mixture, season once again with a small amount of pepper mix and a dash of extra virgin olive oil. Continue tossing until a creamy, smooth, and tight texture is achieved.
When the dish is ready to be served, plate the pasta carefully and garnish with toasted, ground pink peppercorns and grated pecorino romano.
Enjoy! Thank you Chef Napolitano – xoxo