Dinner For Two

Drunken Pasta Cacio e Pepe + Warm Spinach Salad + Flourless Chocolate Cake + Vodka Martini

Drunken Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 bottles red wine (the cheap stuff is fine)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Lemon zest, to garnish


In a high-sided skillet melt the butter. When the butter is melted add in the kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to cook the butter until the pepper is toasted and the butter is browned. Remove from heat.

In a medium stock pot, bring the two bottles of red wine to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling wine till al’ dente. Strain the pasta from the wine but make sure to reserve the cooking wine for later.

Return the brown butter mixture over medium heat. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup cooking wine, stirring until it comes to a simmer. Add the grated cheeses and combine until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick. You can add more cooking wine or water if needed. Serve the pasta warm and garnish with additional grated cheese and lemon zest.


Serves 4


Warm Spinach Salad with Pancetta Dressing

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, stems removed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces pine nuts, toasted (about 1/3 cup)


Combine the spinach and red onions in a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the mushrooms and salt to taste, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until they start to release their moisture and begin to shrink, 2 to 3 minutes. Now let the mushrooms cook undisturbed until their liquid evaporates and they have turned deep golden brown on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until nicely browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes more. With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the pan and toss with the spinach and onions.

In a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook the pancetta over medium-low heat until dark and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.

To the rendered fat in the pan, add the vinegar, honey and mustard. Bring to a boil and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and then pour the warm dressing over the spinach, mushrooms and onions. Add the reserved pancetta and toss to distribute the heat and dressing.

Serve in a salad bowl, garnished with pine nuts.


Serves 6


Flourless Chocolate Cake

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing ramekins
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or (Hershey’s special dark cocoa – is what I used)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra to garnish
  • Whipped cream, to serve


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Over a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and butter. When the two are melted and whisked together remove from heat. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt until combined. Next whisk in the eggs, cocoa powder and cayenne pepper.

Generously grease two 8-ounce ramekins with butter. Divide the batter evenly between the two ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake is set every but the center. The center of the cake should giggle slightly when you shake the ramekin. Let cool until the ramekins are cool enough to handle. Run an offset spatula around the sides of the ramekin and then flip over onto a baking sheet to release the cake. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.


Serves 2


Vodka Martini

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


  • 2 ounces premium vodka
  • 3/4 ounces dry vermouth
  • Optional: 2 dashes bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist or 3 olives


Gather the ingredients. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish and serve.


Makes 1 cocktail




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