For the past four years I’ve been working with Smithfield to create recipes using their various pork products. In case you’ve missed any of my previous posts you can click here to check out all the different dishes I’ve come up with thus far.
For my final recipe of 2018 they shipped me one of their Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloins to use, which got me thinking about a disturbing trend I’ve noticed recently at Italian restaurants — the dish known as Cacio e Pepe.
In case you don’t speak Italian, “Cacio e Pepe” translates to “cheese and pepper” and that’s literally all the dish is — noodles with cheese and pepper. Now, I eat tons of noodles and tons of cheese, so that’s not the issue. My problem with Cacio e Pepe is that because it sounds so fancy restaurants are regularly charging upwards of $20 for it, which is a total rip off.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people that shows up at a restaurant and expects my entree to cost $5 just because that’s how much it would cost to make the same meal at home. I understand all the costs that go into running a restaurant, but when I do go out to eat I’d at least like to pay for something with more than three ingredients that I could easily make for myself in 15 minutes.
Do you know what does make Cacio e Pepe worth the money though? Topping it with cubes of Smithfield’s Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin! Actually, since Smithfield’s Marinated Fresh Pork products come seasoned and marinated with all the prep work already done for you the second you open the package I’m 100% sure that just topping a plain pile of noodles with any of them would have tasted amazing. Being from Wisconsin though there’s zero chance I was going to leave out all that delicious cheese!
So, I cubed my Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin, roasted it in the oven, cooked some bucatini, added Parmesan and Romano cheese, combined it with the tenderloin and ended up with something much better than traditional Cacio e Pepe with minimal effort in a little over 20 minutes total!
If tenderloin isn’t your thing Smithfield’s Marinated Fresh Pork products are also available in a wide variety of different cuts including pork roasts, loin filets, chops, ribs and sirloins and can be found at Roundy’s, Piggly Wiggly and Walmart. If you’re looking for a side dish to go with your Cacio e Pepe — or another completely different entrée in general — you can always head over to the recipes section of Smithfield.com where you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like!
Cacio e Pepe w/ Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin Recipe
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin
- 16 ounces pasta such as spaghetti or bucatini
- 6 tablespoons butter cubed
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese grated
- 2/3 cup Romano cheese grated
Cook Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin according to the directions on the package. It can also be cubed prior to cooking to shorten the cooking time.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, season with salt and add pasta.
Cook pasta until 2 minutes before tender (according to the directions on the package), drain and save 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper to melted butter.
Add the 1/2 cup of pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter.
Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the cheese melts.
Cube Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin — if you didn’t do so prior to cooking — toss with pasta and serve.