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It’s ridiculous how a few quality ingredients can make such a sumptuous pasta dish. When in Rome cacio e pepe is one of two pasta dishes that I order at one of my favorite restaurants as soon as I arrive.
If you’re really hungry and want something simple to eat this no-cook sauce is for you. Boil well-salted water, cook the spaghetti and you’re almost done.
When the spaghetti is al dente, fish it out of the water and put it in a big bowl. Pour a cup of hot pasta water over the spaghetti, stir in the grated pecorino & freshly ground black pepper, toss and your ready to eat.
The silky zesty pecorino sauce clings to every strand of spaghetti and the black pepper explodes in your mouth. I couldn’t stop eating this one.
Be sure to buy the best spaghetti from Italy that you can. I prefer pasta from a small producer in and around Naples. This pasta could cost you 4 or 5 dollars but it’s worth every penny. Their durum wheat pasta extruded through a bronze die has a deep nutty wheat flavor and the rough surface holds sauce well. In a pinch I use De Cecco.
Buy a hunk of pecorino romano from Italy and grate just before using to maximize its taste. Buy quality black peppercorns and coarsely grind or crush them so that you fully enjoy their robust flavor and texture.
Oh, and that other pasta dish I can’t wait to eat when I get to Roma, spaghetti carbonara. Let me know if you want me to make that one in a future episode. Just leave a comment.
I often make a spaghetti pie when I have cacio e pepe left over. Just add beaten eggs, mix and bake it until the spaghetti strands on top are golden and nutty. It’s an easy way of getting a second day of enjoyment out of this tasty dish. You can make a spaghetti pie too.
- 1 pound (500 grams) spaghetti
- 1 cup grated pecorino romano
- freshly coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- sea salt for the pasta water
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
- When the water reaches a rapid boil add the spaghetti. Toss the spaghetti to make sure it doesn't stick.
- While the spaghetti is cooking grate the pecorino, half on the coarse grate and half on the fine grate.
- Coarsely grind black pepper or crack them with a pan or a meat pounder.
- When the spaghetti is al dente fish it out with tongs and put it in a big bowl. (Save 2 cups of pasta water if you drain it in a colander.)
- Add a cup of pasta water to the bowl and toss to moisten the spaghetti.
- Add the grated pecorino and toss. If the pasta is too dry add more pasta water to form a silky sauce.
- Add the black pepper and toss the spaghetti well.
- Serve immediately. Have some pecorino and the pepper mill on the table for your guests to add more if they want.