How David Chang Puts A Completely Different Spin On Cacio E Pepe

David Chang is going to change your thoughts on instant ramen noodles with his spin on the classic Italian dish Cacio e Pepe. Ramen noodles have long been a staple for those on a budget as well as for those college graduates who have fostered a lifelong love for this easy-to-prepare and deeply satisfying food. Instant ramen noodles are fried, dehydrated, and packaged with stabilizers to give them a long shelf life. These noodles are easy to customize and Chang demonstrates this by transforming them into a Cacio e Pepe that will make your mouth water.

On an episode of "Lucky Peach," Chang explains that because ramen noodles are already cooked, and they just soak up the water when they are boiled, they have a life beyond those season packets that come in the package. This is what gave the host of "The Next Thing You Eat" the idea to make these noodles in cheese water. Chang adds butter, olive oil, cracked pepper, and pecorino Romano cheese to already boiling water before adding the ramen noodles.

Cook al dente

The Momofuku founder explains that while this dish is not "Italian approved," his ramen riff on Cacio e Pepe is as authentic as it gets; However, in the spirit of taking a little creative license, if you like to make your Cacio e Pepe using Parmesan as well, it's easy to blend it with the traditional pecorino. Chang states that you still are striving for an al dente noodle, or as al dente as you can get with ramen so it will have a chewy texture. And if you find you have more liquid than you want, no problem. Just pour a little off. 

The end result is creamy and delicious noodles, but one of the benefits of making this dish with ramen is how quickly it comes together, not to mention, you only need one pot to make it. And if you like Chang's take on Cacio e Pepe, perhaps it will inspire you to re-imagine other noodle dishes using ramen.