Birthday Meals

Today is Florida Keys Guy’s birthday. I got him a shirt from Lululemon, which he loves, and I will be making dinner for just a few people in honor of the occasion. Birthday boy has requested one of his favorite pasta dishes, so that is what we will have. Cacio e pepe is about the simplest thing to make: pici pasta (or, since it is impossibly hard to find in Florida, bucatini or some other type of thick spaghetti) with pecorino cheese and loads of grated black pepper. Easy, yet so delicious.

Our friend introduced us to the Tuscan staple on our first trip to Florence (Italy, not South Carolina). She ordered it in a restaurant and I really didn’t get it. “What do you mean it is just pasta with cheese? What’s so great about that?” I asked. “It has pepper, too,” she replied. Once I reached across the table to snag a bite of her dinner, I knew it was something special.

It is not hard to convince me to like a pasta dish, as I love all things noodle-y. From red sauce to pesto, I really do enjoy a good bowl, or three, of pasta. This is only one (but a big) reason why I am opposed to carb-free diets. I just have no interest in giving it up, or even just having less of it.

As fr the birthday dinner, in addition to the pasta, we will be having a smoked salmon crostini appetizer (with champagne, of course), a caprese salad, which, along with the pasta will be accompanied by a 2003 Val Di Suga Brunello di Montalcino and a 2004 Val Llach Embriux. Dessert will be amazing, I am sure, since my mother is making it and she only knows how to make fabulous desserts. Dessert wine to be determined, although I have my eye on a 2001 Van Der Heyden Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.

If the pasta is feeling photogenic, I will post some photos tomorrow. Sadly, they will not be scratch n’ sniff. I’d post a real recipe, too, but I don’t really have one. My version goes like this:

  • Grate a ton of pecorino. If you are feeling extra fancy, add some parmesan, too.
  • Grind a load of black pepper. Yes, it must be freshly ground, otherwise your dish will suck.
  • Boil pici or other thick spaghetti. Drain, and top with cheese and pepper. You may need some butter, too.

See, wasn’t that easy? Do you have a favorite pasta or birthday dish that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy birthday to Florida Keys Guy and many more years of birthdays shared with friends and family indulging in good food and wine.

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