PBS’ The Mind of a Chef is my current Netflix infatuation (following Call the Midwife and the Tonya Harding episode of 30 for 30). There are so many things to adore about this show: the show is beautifully shot and often edited with a sense of humor, it showcases the earnest, single-minded dedication of its subjects, and you will learn so many extraordinary little things. Also, David Chang’s laugh! The first season features Chang, ruler of the Momofuku universe, and the pilot documents him eating his weight in ramen, pontificating lovingly on ramen, and doing things one would never think to do with ramen of the instant variety. Like make cacio e pepe.
I knew I had to try making the instant ramen cacio e pepe, which is also featured in the first issue of Chang’s quarterly Lucky Peach, because 1) I love ramen, 2) it features something Chang calls “cheese water” (hello! Can I bathe in this stuff already?), and 3) my whole life is cacio e pepe. Parmesan and black pepper is one of my favorite combinations, and the list of things that I’ve put Parmesan and black pepper on is likely longer than the list of things that I haven’t put it on. If you have Parmesan and black pepper in your kitchen, you will never go hungry.
Is instant ramen cacio e pepe disgusting? A little. Is it delicious? A lot. And because you’re an adult who just had instant ramen for dinner for no good reason (despite having a fresh head of cauliflower in the fridge), it is a good idea to hit this blackberry coconut chia pudding in the morning for breakfast.
David Chang’s Instant Ramen Cacio e Pepe
From Lucky Peach
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 package instant ramen, seasoning packets reserved for another use
Combine water, butter, olive oil and a healthy dose of fresh black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
Stir. Reduce the heat so mixture simmers quickly and steadily. Stir in the cheese and then immediately add the noodle brick. Keep stirring so the cheese doesn’t clump, and baste the ramen with the cheese water until the noodles have started to separate. Once that’s happened, begin stirring the noodles constantly. If it looks like there is way more liquid than the noodles will absorb, pour some out. After 3 to 4 minutes, the noodles should be loose and rehydrated, and most of the liquid should be gone.
Serve topped with extra black pepper and cheese.
Blackberry Coconut Breakfast Pudding
Makes 4 servings
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (I used a 13.5 fluid oz can)
1 cup blackberries
1/3 to 1/2 cup chia seeds (depending on if you like thicker pudding)
1/4 cup honey (more or less to taste)
In a blender, blend the coconut milk and the blackberries. Transfer the coconut and blackberry mixture to a small bowl or large jar, and then stir in the chia seeds and honey. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until the chia seeds puff and expand. It helps to mix the pudding every ten minutes or so for the first 30 minutes to make sure that the chia seeds do not clump together or sink to the bottom.
Pudding may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.