Cacio e Pepe with a twist

The weather has been gorgeous outside for February in Ohio, so my taste buds have been begging for some brighter, Spring-type flavors. For about a week, I was just craving pasta ever since I saw an article about Cacio e Pepe (which simply means cheese and pepper). Traditional marinara sauce can feel heavy sometimes, but this dish feels like a great transition for Spring. Mon petit chou gave me an AeroGarden a few years ago as a gift, and I've been obsessed with it ever since. Fresh herbs can be either expensive or hard to find during the winter, so this helps get some of my favorite herbs all year round (and no, I was not paid to say this, I just love being able to have fresh herbs to cook with)!! With all the fresh herbs I had, and the fact it's still a little bit chilly out, I decided to put a twist on it!


What you need...

Serves two

3 slices of thick cut bacon, diced

5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 small onions, sliced into strips

1 oz fettuccini (or 1 serving of another pasta)

1 medium zucchini, spiralized

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 chicken sausages (I love Gilbert’s smoked gouda flavor), cut into coins

1/2 cup parmesan, asiago and romano cheese blend, large shaved

2 eggs

1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley

2 tablespoons basil, cut into thin strips

Cracked black pepper, to taste

  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. While you wait for that, heat a large pan on medium-high. Cook the diced bacon for about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic. Once the onions slightly start to brown, turn the heat to low. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while. The onions and garlic will become a rich brown, but not burnt. 

  2. Add the sausages and cooked until browned (and fully cooked if using raw sausage). While the sausage cooks, put one serving of pasta into the boiling water, and cook until done. Halfway through the pasta cooking, add the spiralized zucchini to the pan with the sausage and onion mixture.

  3. Once the pasta is finished cooking (keep the water boiling!), add the pasta to the pan with the other ingredients and add the butter, olive oil and ¼ cup of water and combine over very low heat. Once the butter has fully melted and everything is fully combined, turn off the heat. Poach two eggs in the boiling pasta water. Plate the pasta and liberally top with freshly cracked pepper, cheese blend, parsley and basil. Put a poached egg on top of each serving of pasta, and enjoy!