The Kitchy Kitchen Recipe: Orecchiette Cacio e Pepe

Claire Thomas is an unabashed food enthusiast and the host of Food for Thought with Claire Thomas, part of Litton’s Weekend Adventure on ABC. She works as a nationally recognized commercial director, food photographer, and writer, with her blog, The Kitchy Kitchen, as her experiment and much beloved playground. Born and raised in LA, Claire has turned food into an intellectual and grumbling stomach–driven passion.

orecchiette400Cacio e pepe literally means “cheese and pepper,” and honestly, you could forgo all of the extra ingredients I included and still have a delicious dish. From The Kitchy Kitchen.

For 4 servings

4 cups diced, peeled butternut squash
(1-inch pieces)
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
10 to 12 ounces dried orecchiette
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups torn or chopped kale (1-inch pieces)
3/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese,
plus additional for serving
3 ounces burrata, roughly chopped

Kitchy Kitchen

Kitchy Kitchen

by Claire Thomas

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1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the butternut squash and onion on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 to 2 tablespoons salt and the orecchiette; cook al dente.

3. While the pasta is cooking, place a large sauté pan over medium heat; when the pan is hot, add the pepper and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the kale. Stir together until the butter melts, then remove from the heat.

4. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Put the sauté pan over medium heat again. Add the pasta to the pan along with the roasted butternut squash and onion and the pecorino; toss it all together. Add some of the reserved water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the cheese melts into a creamy sauce; you might not use it all.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the burrata. Serve with additional pecorino cheese on the side.

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