To celebrate world vegetarian day we want to talk to you about this Neapolitan pasta recipe. Actually this isn’t just any recipe for Neapolitans, cheese and egg pasta (cas’ e ova) is a true and undisputable religion in Naples!
It’s simple, but wasn't it Leonardo da Vinci himself to state that ‘simplicity is true sophistication’? Anyhow, for us at Pastificio Carleschi, how can we put it? Cas’ e ova isn’t just a dish that we feel entitled to indulge in completely but is considered comfort food to our migrant souls.
You would think this recipe is some sort of ancestor of the carbonara, but nope, this is from Naples not Rome. It is thought to have been around since pasta existed and surely it’s living proof of the extraordinary ability of Italian cooks and particularly Neapolitan people to be able to create something perfect out of so little ingredients like cheese and eggs.
To be honest cas’ e ova isn’t vegetarian as it traditionally uses lard (in Naples, ‘nzogna), but in our version we have replaced that with butter. We also recommend using vegetarian dry cheese’s of your choice instead of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino.
Simple but delicious pasta cheese and egg
300g of Pastificio Carleschi pasta (since we are not making maccheroni or ditaloni yet, I’ve used our wholegrain spelt conchiglie rigate, delicious and linked below).
50g Vegetarian dry cheese of your choice 1 (or, Parmigiano Reggiano).
50g Vegetarian dry cheese of your choice 2 (or, Pecorino).
Flat leaf Parsley.
A good pinch of salt.
50g of butter.
A good pinch of black peppercorn (in a mill, to grind fresh).
Bring 3 litres of water to the boil. Once it begins to boil add 30g of salt, throw the pasta in, give it a good stir and set a timer for 9 minutes. Then take your favourite pasta pan out of the cupboard, put it over a gentle heat and melt your butter. While the butter melts, crack 2 full eggs in a bowl and 1 yolk (drink the remaining white, shout Adriana and feel like you are Rocky Balboa for 30 seconds).
Add a pinch of salt to the eggs, crack a generous amount of pepper and beat it. Keep aside and get on grating all the cheese. Rinse the parsley and chop it. If you are quick at this point you can have a glass of wine and clean the kitchen, otherwise your 9 minutes are nearly gone and the place is still a mess.
Take an espresso cup of boiling water out of the pot just before you drain the pasta and add it to pan with the melted butter. Lower the heat to the minimum and add the pasta, toss vigorously, you want to make a ‘creamy sauce’, add the cheese and keep tossing over the same low heat. When everything is creamy and delicious add the parsley, toss a bit more and then add the egg mixture. Keep tossing. If you like it creamy then stop, if you like it a bit less creamy then keep going.
In the original version the egg is ‘almost cooked’. Plate immediately, look at what you have done and have a try. It’s delicious. Amazing how so much flaour can be in so few ingredients. Neapolitan are genius.