Chris Negron, author of Dan Unmasked and The Last Super Chef shares his family recipe for an Italian pasta dish favorite.
Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe is a simple pasta dish popular in Rome with just three ingredients. Like it a little more peppery or a little more cheesy? Adjust it to your taste. The secret is using the highest quality ingredients, especially the cheese!
1 big hunk of Pecorino-Romano cheese for grating
A small bowl filled with about 30 turns of coarsely ground black pepper
1 pound of dry spaghetti
1 large bowl that is halfway between a flat plate and a bowl – it should have enough depth to grate a pile of cheese into but also be nice and wide for turning the pasta and cheese together
- Start by boiling a large pot of water for the pasta and dropping it in
- While the pasta is cooking, grate a big pile of the cheese into your large bowl / plate
- Sprinkle a few pinches of the pepper onto the top of your cheese pile
- Mix the cheese and pepper together with a fork
- When your pasta is al dente, use tongs to scoop the spaghetti out into your cheese bowl. Continue this until you’ve moved all the pasta from the pot to the bowl containing the grated cheese and ground pepper
- Use two forks to turn the cheese and pepper into the pasta, blending them. Continue this until all the cheese forms a rich, creamy sauce that evenly coasts the pasta
- To finish this sauce and make it as creamy as possible, use a ladle to scoop just an ounce or so of the pasta water into the bowl
- Use both forks to turn the pasta again, blending it with the water. The water will help transform your rich sauce into heaven on a plate!
- To finish, grate a small amount of additional cheese onto the top of the pasta and sprinkle another pinch or two of pepper onto the top of the pasta as well
- Serve it while it’s still hot! The creamy, peppery sauce is enjoyed best that way!