How to Make Anthony Bourdain's Favorite Pasta Dish

Anthony Bourdain and His Favorite Pasta
Photo: FilmMagic; Getty Images [edited]

There are five words that guide travelers through tough decisions: “What would Anthony Bourdain do?”

Well, on this October 17, National Pasta Day, we believe that Bourdain would celebrate by going into his kitchen and whipping up his favorite pasta dish.

Although it could be argued that Bourdain would never celebrate an arbitrary food holiday, he has spoken at length about his love for cacio e pepe. It’s a simple Italian pasta dish that can be created in just a few minutes. Some consider it the Italian equivalent of macaroni and cheese — a simple crowd-pleaser.

In an episode of "No Reservations" back in 2010, Bourdain visited a secret restaurant in Rome — since revealed to be Roma Sparita in Trastevere — to indulge in a plate of cacio e pepe.

He lauded the dish as so good, he would give up several important life experiences to eat it again (including his “third, fifth, seventh, and ninth acid trips” and reading The Catcher in the Rye).

Luckily, for those who aren’t able to book a last-minute flight to Rome, cacio e pepe is easy to prepare at home.

The dish starts with half-cooked pasta and a cup of pasta water. Fresh ground pepper and melted butter are added to the pasta water.

Then, the pasta is reintroduced to the “sauce” to finish cooking. After removing the pasta from the heat, cacio e pepe is finished with pecorino or parmesan cheese and another crack of pepper.

For a truly Bourdain experience, mix up a classic negroni to accompany the dish. It’s a holiday, after all.

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