Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese

Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese // Queen Smithereen.
Cacio e Pepe is a bit like Roman Mac and Cheese, except both simpler and more complex. Whereas we normally make a roux or add egg yolks and a cheesy spectrum of creams and oranges, Cacio is a barren ingredient wasteland. Sheep’s milk cheese, ground black pepper, pasta.

At this point, you might be wondering where the sauce comes from.
Cacio e Pepe Grilled Cheese // Queen Smithereen.
Something happens when spaghetti cooks in water. Starches release. Those starches thicken sauces, and even make them, if given the chance. Cue: complexity. It is so simple, it doesn’t make sense.
Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese // Queen Smithereen.
You know the rules. When in Rome, do as the Nonsensical do: crave, complicate, and reinterpret simple intricacy. I sprinkled black peppery cheese on melting butter. I cooked a sandwich on top of it as it frico-ed.

[Both sides.]
Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese // Queen Smithereen.
Ooze and crunch and superglue stretch. Om. Nom. Chew. Chomp.
Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese // Queen Smithereen.
Munch. Pen:

Comfort Food

we were not the strand of pasta between
dog mouths, we were not

lit up like untangled knots of lights

strings strung in tight corners and wrapped
around bits and bobs
a garbling, muddled
mouthful

spaghetti too big it hurts to open
that wide / each time

even after

Gulp. Good night, Moon.

One Year: Hasselback Potatoes with Dill Sour Cream
Two Years: Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Three Years: Thai Red Curry with Coconut Rice
Four Years: Herbed Yukon Gold Oven Fries

Cacio e Pepe Frico Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

2 ounces semisoft cheese, like fontina and/or provolone, finely grated
1/2 ounce pecorino cheese, finely grated
2 slices sourdough bread
1 1/2 tbsp high-quality salted butter (I like Kerrygold!)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together cheeses. Divide all but 2 tbsp of cheese mixture between slices of bread. Spread 1/2 tbsp butter on the top side of the sandwich, only. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp butter in a skillet on medium heat. When melted, evenly sprinkle with 1/4 tsp black pepper, then 1 tbsp of cheese mixture. Place the unbuttered half of the sandwich atop the melting cheese, allowing the bottom to become golden brown before flipping, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the top half of the sandwich with the addition 1 tbsp of cheese and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. When the bottom side is perfectly golden and brown, use a spatula to gently lift the frico from the pan and flip the sandwich over to cook the other side (NOTE: it’s totally fine if some of the cheese you sprinkled falls off here, because it’s going to get frico-ed, anyway). When the sandwich is fully cooked, with golden brown frico on both sides (about 2 more minutes), transfer to a plate. Let rest for 1-2 minutes before gently slicing on the diagonal and NOT. SHARING. WITH. ANYBODY.

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14 comments

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    • queensmithereen

      I’m about to make another one right now. I’d share if I could! πŸ˜‚ Thank you for the compliment! I’ve become very passionate about taking pictures of the food I make. Best wishes to you!!

      Like

  1. Quinn

    I make something like this only with more butter and I swear to God I can FEEL my arteries hardening every time I swallow but it tastes so damn good it’s worth the early-onset coronary artery disease.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. H

    Your words should be a part of your Ingridients list..without them, I’m not sure this sandwich would be the same…
    Thanks for the recipe and the experience of the read.
    -H

    Liked by 1 person

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