Considered to be the ultimate Italian comfort food, Cacio e Pepe lives up to its reputation. One of the most beloved Italian recipes, it is so easy to prepare and completely delicious with less than 5 ingredients (that includes the salt and pepper). In the time that it takes to boil water and cook pasta to the perfect al dente texture, you've got a meal ready to enjoy!
- 8 oz. of good quality, Italian spaghetti
- 6 cups well-salted boiling water
- Set aside 1–1/2 cups of the hot pasta water
- 2 tablespoon freshly, coarsely grated pepper, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus a LOT more for garnish
- OR 3/4 cup grated parmigiana cheese plus 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese if you prefer a less sharp, less salty cheese flavor.
- In a large, wide frying pan, saute’ the pepper in either water or melted butter for a few minutes.
- In a tall pot of boiling hot water, cook the pasta until ‘al dente’ (firm but not hard when you bite into it), about 4 minutes and not the amount of time indicated on the package instructions.
- Start the sauce while the spaghetti is cooking and use the same frying pan with the sauteed black pepper. Melt the butter in the pan on low heat.
- Pull the pasta up and out of the pot and allow it to drain. Don’t throw the pasta water away!
- In the frying pan with the butter and sauteed black pepper, add several ladles of the hot pasta water.
- Add the drained pasta to the frying pan and toss the pasta with the butter-pepper-water mixture. Cook the pasta in the “sauce” until it has absorbed most of the liquid.
- Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in 1-3/4 cups of grated Pecorino Romano to the pasta. Stir continually so that the pasta becomes creamy.
- If the ‘sauce’ begins to clump or gets too dry, just add a little more of the pasta water as you are stirring.
- Garnish with more freshly grated cheese and freshly cracked black peppercorns.
- Minced fresh Italian parsley and/or a sprig of fresh Italian parsley is a very pretty garnish too!