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Commodity Pasta

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Author Notes

this recipe came about when I was growing up. sometimes my father did not work and we relied on government food commodities. There was always pasta, eggs, cans of grated parmesan cheese, and butter. This has become popular recently as Cacio de Pepe, but I started making this in North Hollywood when I was 8 years old. I was the cook in the family and this is what I came up with when we had nothing else to eat. That was in 1963. And not an Italian amongst us. We had recently moved from Canada to the US. Of course, in the decades since, this has become upscale. I have used it as a base for primavera, Alfredo, adding chicken, or shrimp, or whatever veggies I have in the fridge. Additional herbs to jazz it up. But it is a basic go to that I have used probably at least once a month since those commodities were a staple for dinner for my siblings and I . —judy

  • Prep time
    20 minutes
  • Cook time
    20 minutes
  • Serves

  • 1 pound

    spaghetti noodles, or pasta

  • 4 -6 tablespoons


  • 1/2-3/4 cups

    grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 -2 teaspoons

    ground pepper

  • 4-6 quarts

    boiling water

  • dash


  1. pour dash salt in boiling water
  2. add pasta and cook according to package directions
  3. drain water and put pasta back into pot
  4. add butter and stir until melted covering pasta. Use butter sufficient to coat pasta and to taste
  5. Add grated cheese, amount to taste, and pepper, amount to taste and toss pasta until evenly distributed
  6. Serve.

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