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Cacio e Pepe with Fresh Corn

Summer corn adds a hint of sweetness to this cheesy pasta.


We love anything cacio e pepe, the classic Italian combo of cheese and pepper that—though simple—when done well is simply sublime. A steaming bowl of cacio e pepe may not be the first thing that comes to mind as a weeknight meal option during the summer but it is absolutely a summery pasta dish that’s sweet and spicy and cheesy and, well, flawless. 


Bring a large pot of salted water and the corn cobs to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet or large braiser over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the breadcrumbs and garlic powder and stir to completely coat the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and light brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wipe the skillet clean.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in the cleaned skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Increase the heat to medium high. Add a generous amount of black pepper, at least 1 teaspoon, and cook until the pepper is very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the corn kernels and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the corn is softened and turns bright yellow, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the Pecorino Romano to a large heatproof bowl. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of the hot pasta water and stir vigorously until the cheese melts into a smooth sauce.

Remove the pasta from the boiling water with tongs to the skillet with the corn and toss to coat. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese sauce to the skillet and toss to coat, adding more pasta water as needed to keep it saucy. Add more pepper to taste. Top with more cheese and breadcrumbs, reserving some crumbs for plating. Sprinkle with the basil, parsley, chili and even more black pepper if desired. Drizzle with oil. Plate and sprinkle with more breadcrumbs.




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