Cacio e Pepe with Coconut Bacon
- For the coconut bacon:
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes not shredded
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke I used hickory flavor, but you can use anyone you'd prefer
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- salt to taste
- For the pasta:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 medium zucchinis Blade D, noodles trimmed
- freshly cracked black pepper from a grinder
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese + more to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the bacon, except for the coconut. Then, add in the coconut and toss together gently to mix well until all the coconut flakes are covered in the bacon dressing.
Spread the flakes out into an even layer on the prepared baking tray and season with salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until flakes are mostly dry and turning golden on the edges. Keep in mind that the flakes will crisp as they cool, so don’t worry if your flakes aren’t crispy after 10-12 minutes.
Remove the “bacon” from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the bacon cools, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add in the zucchini noodles and toss to cook, for about 2-3 minutes.
Season the zucchini with a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper and add in the cheeses. Remove from heat, toss to combine thoroughly and then plate into two bowls. Top each bowl with a few more cranks of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of coconut bacon onto each plate. Garnish with additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if desired.