We’ve got a ritual when I go home, a ritual firmly implemented by my mom. At 4 or 4:30ish, no matter the day, she makes a big batch of homemade popcorn. And goodness, is this popcorn good. I don’t even need to be hungry- if the popcorn’s there, I will inevitably eat the whole bowl! Yesterday I finally got around to asking my mom for her popcorn technique so I could start making some at home. I had a light bulb moment and decided to take the flavor profile of one of my all time favorite pasta dishes, Cacio e Pepe, and transfer it to the popcorn. Think hot kernels with a bite of pepper and salty cheese. OMGsogood. But the cool thing is that the options are endless. At home my mom tops the popcorn with sea salt and nutritional yeast- to die for. But she’s also added in things like Tumeric in the past, which was surprisingly good. And that’s just savory side of things… think about the sweet options! Yum.
Cacio e Pepe Popcorn
Makes about 16 cups popped
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- olive oil
- 1/2 heaping tsp sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups grated romano cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil- you want just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Add in the popcorn kernels and shake pot to distribute into an even layer. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the lid on and crank your burner to the highest. Keep heat on until you hear no more popping. I like to remove my pot from the heat when the popping has really slowed down, so the popcorn at the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn.
Once off the heat, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Drizzle with a bit more olive, give it a solid 10+ grinds of fresh pepper, and add in the cheese. Toss well to combine. Devour immediately.