Lookup a combination of the words Cacio e Pepe or cheese and pepper, and you’re guaranteed to be delightfully surprised by your discovery. Cacio e Pepe is a beloved meatless recipe in Rome, one that earned its place as 2016’s trendiest past dish in New York’s dining scene. This recipe both feels new and familiar while being easy to prepare and difficult to forget.
Only a handful of the most basic store cupboard ingredients are listed on the original Italian recipe, which only adds to the savory simplicity. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, and it typically serves 2.
- A dash (1/8 teaspoon) of salt;
- 3 ounces (220g) of long pasta (like tonnarelli,tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
- 1 cup of olive oil (optional);
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter (be it cubed or divided);
- 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper;
- A third of a cup of finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan Cheese
- One whole cup of finely grated Pecorino.
- First, Bring 3 quarts of water with a dash of salt to a boil in a 5-quart pot
- Add pasta to boiling water, occasionally stirring, wait for two minutes.
- While the pasta water boils, melt the two tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pepper on top and cook for about a minute, until toasted;
- Drain the pasta and leave the cooking water on the side;
- Add half a cup of pasta water to the skillet, then bring it to a simmer.
- Add in the pasta and the rest of the butter.
- Reduce heat to low and add the cheese.
- Keep stirring and tossing until the cheese has melted;
- Remove the skillet from heat
- Add the ground black pepper and cheese
- Toss until well incorporated into the pasta.
- Transfer the pasta to serving bowls.
- Garnish with a little amount of additional cheese and black pepper (don’t overdo the pepper).
Your Cacio e Pepe is ready to serve; Enjoy.