we are allllll about pasta dishes, especially simple pasta dishes for dinner.
much in the same vein as this carbonara, this cacio e pepe yields a wonderfully flavorful, rich creamy sauce using no butter, cream cheese or milk. all you need is a little pecorino romano cheese and some reserved pasta water. it’s like a classy version of macaroni and cheese - each noodle is coated with wonderfully melty, salty, creamy cheesiness. for this purpose i love the thicker bucatini noodles, although i believe spaghetti is more traditional if that’s your style.
this is a pretty simple recipe, but does require a little trick to ensure a silky sauce.
| ingredients |
fresh cracked, black pepper
spaghetti or bucatini
pecorino romano, freshly grated, at room temperature
| method |
bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. once boiling, salt well and add the pasta, cooking until al dente. 1-2 minutes before pasta will be fully cooked, place a large, heatproof bowl over the pot of water to warm it. (i like to place some of my cheese in the bowl as it heats to help it get a head start on the melting - the warm bowl and melty cheese are the tricks to perfect cacio e pepe!)
remove the bowl from your pot and scoop a bunch of pasta water out of your pot using a heatproof cup. quickly drain your pasta, and toss the drained pasta immediately into your warmed bowl. switch off between adding the cheese and reserved pasta water, a little of each at a time, and toss vigorously using a wooden spoon (this is no joke an arm workout) until a creamy sauce forms. add pepper and toss a little more. if your sauce gets too watery, add additional cheese. if it’s too dry, add more water. to ensure a silky sauce, make sure your noodles, the bowl, and water are all extremely warm. otherwise your cheese won’t fully melt/will be kind of gloppy.
serve with additional black pepper cracked over top.