Cacio e Pepe
This classic Roman dish is only three ingredients but is often difficult to make at home! It's all in quality ingredients and a little finesse! I recommend buying a piece of pecorino and grating it yourself in the food processor. Really let it get nice and fine, as Mike says, like snow! And of course, you'll want good quality pasta or make your own like we did!
The other trick - which we DIDN'T do in the video - is NOT to pour the sauce back into the warm pan. All the cheese melts out and sticks to the pan not the pasta...we all live and learn right? Mike recommends mixing the pasta right into the bowl with the cacio sauce and adding in the pepper.
I was SO excited when Mike called from Italy to say he would be back in NJ for a few weeks and had just learned how to make cacio e pepe from the little old lady downstairs! He couldn't wait to share the dish with all of you! Especially because it's become so popular and at the same elusive for home cooks. I know I've tried my hand at it a few times on my own with less than stellar results!
I will tell you, even if you make a mistake, the flavor is amazing! So don't be afraid to give it a shot at home. As always, make food you love and you'll always eat well.
Pasta Cacio e Pepe
10 oz. finely grated Pecorino Romano (buy online here: Pecorino Romano)
2 Tbs. coarse ground black pepper
1 C. hot water
1 lb. spaghetti
Toast the black pepper in a hot pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. You'll know it's done when you no longer smell the heat of the pepper. (Trust me, you'll know.) It will smell more mild and almost floral.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
While whisking, pour some of the hot water (not the salted pasta water), into a bowl of pecorino to make the sauce. Adjust with more water to desired consistency.
Add in the pasta and the pepper and stir to coat. Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of cheese and fresh pepper.