Rachael Ray's Cacio e Pepe Mac 'n' Cheese with Chard
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Rachael Ray's Cacio e Pepe Mac 'n' Cheese with Chard

I use two kinds of peppercorns in this cacio e pepe. The black ones are tingly and strong, and the citrusy pink ones balance the creamy cheese sauce. I throw in some chard so the cook (um, me) doesn’t have to make a salad, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped

  • Salt About 1 tbsp. each black peppercorns and pink peppercorns, coarsely ground in a spice mill or crushed together in a mortar and pestle

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, center stems removed and leaves thinly sliced

  • Freshly grated nutmeg (grate it while making one pass over the pan)

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta

  • ½ cup each Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano

  • 1 lb. fusilli lunghi (long corkscrew-shaped pasta) or fusilli

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

  • Step 2

    In a large skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium. Add the onion and garlic; season with salt and half the ground peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard. Cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the nutmeg. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  • Step 3

    In a large bowl, mix the cheeses.

  • Step 4

    Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Whisk the cooking water into the bowl with the cheeses. Add the pasta and chard. Toss until coated; season with salt. Top with the remaining peppercorns.

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