I toyed with other titles for this feature. “The Foodgasm Report” was high on the list, but nothing quite captured what I wanted to say, without cribbing directly from the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” so I unapologetically stole the title. So here we go, as we roll out, one at a time, our short list of Denver meals and desserts, so good, they nearly short-circuited our brains with their incredible flavors.
The Best Thing We Ever Ate: The Cacio e Pepe at Dio Mio
Here she is, in all her lovely, simplistic beauty, Dio Mio’s (5280 Magazine’s Denver’s Best Restaurants List, 2017) Cacio e Pepe. I first became obsessed with this dish when I saw 5280 Magazine’s Food Editor Denise Mickelsen do a Facebook live at Dio Mio. She captured Chef Spencer White, who owns Dio Mio, along with chef and partner Alex Figura, as he created this dish. I’ll admit, I was a real doubter that a dish comprised of handmade pasta noodles, tossed with grated Pecorino Romano, pink peppercorn, salt and bound with pasta cooking water, could be this spectacular.
But it is.
It’s cheesy and delicious and comforting, without being heavy like a pasta carbonara. The fact that Dio Mio makes their own handmade pasta every day, ups the ante on this delicious dish. The pasta is perfectly cooked, with a fantastic chew, and the sauce clings to it, beautifully. Could it get any better? Yes! Dio Mio serves their house made bread, allowing you to enjoy any extra sauce left on your plate.
I asked Chef Spencer White, named to this year’s Zagat’s 30 Under 30, why their Cacio e Pepe is so damn good! He says, “The Cacio e Pepe is the ultimate comfort food. Here at the restaurant, the dough we make has a lot of egg yolks in it – that creates a noodle that has a good ‘tooth,” or bite, to it. I think that is really important in creating this comfort classic. Al dente pasta and a creamy sauce, balanced with vinegar, and pepper. Simple and perfect.”
Read more of The Best Thing We Ever Ate, here.