Cacio e Pepe

A very, very, very truly Roman dish! This comes all the way from Rome, Italy. Cacio e pepe literally translates to cheese and pepper – which are practically the only two ingredients in this pasta dish. Traditionally, Pecorino Romano, a cheese made with sheep’s milk, is used for this. It is high on our list of comfort foods.

You will only need cheese, pepper and pasta. If you get your hands on pecorino, its great, but you can also use any parmesan cheese. If you have a block of parmesan then just grate it with a fine greater and keep. We always prefer freshly crushed black pepper, but for the this crush the pepper in advance and keep, because you’ll need a lot of it. After all, its one of the three ingredients we’re using. If you’ve seen videos of spaghetti being rolled in a wheel of parmesan cheese and served with pepper… then this is it!

Boil the pasta. The rule for boiling pasta is to take a big vessel, and fill a lot of water. Give your pasta a lot of space. And, remember to add salt generously.

Save some of the pasta water. This has the starch from the pasta and is great as a base for any pasta sauce. This, along with the cheese, will form the sauce. Keep your grated parmesan and freshly ground pepper ready.

Your pasta water and cheese will have some salt already. So add salt in the end if required and as per taste. Add all the ingredients and mix well. The cheese will start melting and form a sauce.

Transfer to a bowl and garnish with basil. You can also tear some basil leaves and add it to the pasta.

Recipe

Ingredients:

100 gm pecorino romano, grated
200 gm spaghetti
2-3 tsp Freshly Crushed Black Pepper
Salt

Method:

  1. Bring a lot of water in a pasta pot to boil with 1-2 tsp salt.
  2. Add the spaghetti to the water and let it slide down the side as it cooks.
  3. While the spaghetti is cooking keep your grated cheese and crushed pepper ready.
  4. Drain the spaghetti and keep the pasta water.
  5. In a pan on low flame add 2 ladles of pasta water and the spaghetti. Let it heat up.
  6. Remove from flame and add the pecorino and crushed pepper.
  7. Using a fork mix it fast in circular motions to create a creamy sauce with the cheese and the pasta water.
  8. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of cheese and pepper.

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