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Remember how in the Harry Potter books, Harry counts down the days until he can go back to Hogwarts? Returning to UMass feels a little like that for me.

Maybe driving down the Mass Pike in my family’s Honda is not as cool as the Hogwarts Express, but I still get excited when I see “Amherst” appearing on the road signs again. Although it’s always a little sad to see the summer go, I love being back on campus because you never know what’s around the corner here--a cool club you haven’t heard of, an internship to apply for, a new friend you’ll run into one day at the dining hall.  Each semester I return, I always seem to find some new corner of UMass I didn’t know was there before. Definitely check out the events calendar and campus pulse to start getting involved!

This semester, I’ve got four new classes, three new roommates, and one new kitchen (finally!)  In between classes, club meetings, and homework, I've been having fun trying out new recipes. On an especially busy night last Wednesday, I made cacio e pepe, a pasta dish that sounds fancy but couldn’t be easier to prepare. In the spirit of trying new things, this recipe is a nice change from spaghetti and tomato sauce, and it works well with tiny apartment kitchens and even tinier student budgets. All it takes is pasta water, cheese, and a little pepper to bring it all together. Magic!

Cacio e pepe

Adapted from Bon Apetit

  • 6 oz spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When you strain the spaghetti, reserve ⅓ cup of the pasta water.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add salt, pepper, cheese, spaghetti, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Stir it all together until the cheese melts, transfer to plates, and serve.

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