Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe is the quintessential Roman supper dish: cheese and pepper pasta. Done. So simple, so classic, so easy to make, and so delicious. Leave it to the citizens of Pax Romana to invent something this brilliant. Imagine walking through the ancient streets, past outdoor cafe after cafe, filled with locals eating pasta and drinking vino. Yup, life is not tough. Cook this dish to  a Puccini soundtrack, close your eyes... and pretend you're here:

3/4- 1 cup Cacio cheese (you can find it with the parmeggiano, pecorino, etc)
3/4- 1 cup Parmeggiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano
2 tsp fresh crushed black pepper, extra to taste
Olive oil
Fettucine or spaghetti


1. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes until al dente; drain and reserve the pasta water.

2. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Add in the fresh cracked black pepper and allow to cook a few minutes, stirring, until fragrant.

3. Ladle about 3/4 cups of pasta water into the pan, and use tongs to transfer the pasta evenly into the pan. 

4. Sprinkle the cheese on top and toss frequently with the tongs until the cheese turns creamy and the water reduces. As the sauce thickens, it will start to cling to the pasta, almost like a thin layer.

5. If cheese clumps up, add a little additional cooking water. 

6. Transfer to plates and garnish with additional cheese and fresh pepper as desired. Serve with a bold red like a sangiovese to compliment the dish!

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