I’ll admit I was skeptical of this idea we found in Ideas in Food by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. Roasting concentrates flavor— roasted vegetables, I can get behind. Roasted fruit and citrus, too. But pasta is pretty perfect in my mind, so why roast it dry to enhance flavor before cooking and saucing it?
Source: Roast Pasta Before Cooking It. Really!
I guess this new generation has never heard of Rice-a-Roni, where you brown the pasta in a pan before adding the rice, spices and boiling water.
Lately I’ve been noticing a curious new trend: cacio e pepe everything. Chefs are making cacio e pepe pizza and polenta and risotto. Now you might say, “Hang on, by that logic couldn’t you call anything with freshly ground black pepper and hard sheep’s milk cheese cacio e pepe-flavored?”
Source: Give Biscuits the Cacio e Pepe Treatment
Yum! Biscuits made with cheese and pepper are awesome for egg sandwiches. I like to use the King Arthur flour “2-ingredient” biscuit base for mine. It sounds crazy but it works. All you do is take self-rising flour and add in heavy cream, stir, and it makes amazing biscuit dough. Add in pepper and shredded cheese and you can have biscuits in under 20 minutes from start to finish. They are quite heavy though with the cream and the cheese so I wouldn’t eat them all the time.
Cacio e Pepe is a classic Italian dish that’s pretty hard to mess up but also very difficult to innovate. There are only so many things you can change without the threat of a gaggle of internet-enabled Italians coming after you with pitchforks and colorful expletives.
Source: “Spicy Numbing” Cacio e Pepe
According to Alton Brown, sichuan peppercorns are 1 of the 5 spices in “five-spice powder” …and that it isn’t really a peppercorn.
Sichuan peppercorns need to be toasted before they are ground up and used! I find that they don’t exhibit any of their mouth-numbing flavor unless I do that. You can do that in a pinch by sticking them on a microwave-safe plate for 15-20 seconds before grinding them.