It’s often about the simple things in life, isn’t it?
Our schedule in the past 2 months has been all over place. With a new job, my hours have been long and weekends burnt working. As often the case, the more complicated life gets, the more I crave clean and simple meals.
Nothing can get more simple than Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. This classic Italian comfort food has just 3 ingredients – butter, cheese and black pepper. Four, if you count pasta water. Get it right, and you find yourself with a smooth, creamy pasta with a peppery kick. If you crave veggies the way I do, top it off with oven roasted asparagus for an extra oomph.
After weeks of dining out, the uncomplicated familiarity of a bowl of home cooked pasta soothed both body and spirit. The past 2 months have been a test of patience, faith and blind optimism. It has also been an incredibly humbling experience filled with God’s endless grace and mercies.
1. Let it be
Over the years, it’s become clear to me that dancing in the rain is simply about going with the flow. It’s only when you stop whinging about the rain, then can you start to have fun. In the same way, it is only when you surrender your doubts, fears, insecurities and expectations then can you begin to appreciate the present. Change sucks. I get it. It throws you out of your comfort zone, everything’s different and you have to start all over again. Pray, let it go and get over it. And that’s when you find yourself growing as a person.
2. Practice gratitude
Saying goodbye to people who have filled my work days with warmth and laughter for the past ten years was difficult. Walking away on my last day of work felt like this year has been about nothing but one tearful goodbye after another. But as a wise, tubby little yellow bear once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. Instead of focusing on the close of a chapter, I’ve found it easier to count my blessings and to be grateful for the good times, and precious memories.
3. Stop focusing on yourself
It’s easy to have a pity party when things get difficult. And the more you look inwards, the more you feel sorry for yourself. There are days when all I want to do is curl up on the couch, eat ice cream and mope. And then I start to look around and the truth is, I can’t complain. I really can’t. So I start my mornings with the simplest of prayers, for the strength and grace to live my life so that I can be a blessing to others. It’s amazing how much it changes your perspective on things.
“Ask. Trust. Give thanks. Simple right?” ― Dawn Gluskin
And for days when you really just need that 15-minutes on the couch at the end of a long day, here’s the recipe for Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
- Kosher salt
- 6 ounces pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
- 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5 quart pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.
Recipe from Epicurious