Together with the pasta carbonara, the pasta cacio e pepe is one of the most traditional dish you can find in Rome and only in Rome. It’s so traditional that most of the tourists don’t even know what it is and sometimes they get fooled around and get something that it’s not even comparable to a proper pasta cacio e pepe like our Grandmas use to make. Let me show you the real recipe, the one Romans prepare at home.
Cacio e pepe literally means “pecorino cheese and black pepper” and there’s nothing more delicious than these 2 ingredients to make a simple and yet lovely pasta. Surely the cooking method and following the real recipe will allow you to prepare a perfect pasta cacio e pepe but at one condition: don’t mess with the recipe and don’t add any variation at this dish otherwise you will end up with something totally different and not even close to a proper plate of this pasta.
What you need for 4 portions of pasta cacio e pepe
400 grams (14 ounces) of spaghetti
200 grams (7 ounces) of grated pecorino romano
10 grams (0,35 ounces) ground black pepper
two scoops of cooking water
How to make pasta cacio e pepe
1. Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the package after having poured a a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the spaghetti from turning into a shapeless mass and in the meantime, pour into a bowl the pecorino romano and the black pepper.
2. Remove your pasta the pan at least 2 minutes before the end of cooking (to get it al dente), being careful to set aside at least 6 tablespoons of the cooking water. Pour the spaghetti into the bowl with the cheese and pepper mixture and season well also adding two scoops of cooking water to make sure that all will blend well.
3. Stir and serve soon the spaghetti will get cold and the cheese will start becoming sticky.
1. You can also mix pecorino and black pepper in a large pan and then strain the spaghetti in there as well BUT always remember not to cook the pasta with the cheese and black pepper.
2. You can avoid pouring olive oil into the salted water if you’re using a very good pasta which won’t need any help to be perfect.
3. Do not make the cheesy peppery cream and then add it to the pasta because the final result will not be like the one we use to make. All the ingredients have to be carefully mixed together within the pasta to make them stick to it and form the cream.
4. The more the cheese is old the highest has to be the temperature to dissolve it because it contains less water so you always have to calibrate the quantity of the cooking water of the pasta to be mixed to create a perfect cream.
(Foto di Giuseppe Milo)