Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cacio e Pepe

What if I told you that with only 3 ingredients you could have a a traditional Roman dish on the table? Cacio e Pepe, literally translates to "cheese and pepper". Add some pasta noodles and the hot cooking water and you've got a sinful pasta dish in under 15 minutes. The entire time that we were in Italy on our honeymoon, I was determined to find the best Cacio e Pepe, ordering it anytime I found it on a menu. After kissing a few frogs and finding a winner so to speak, I knew that I had to be able to recreate it back home. The next best thing to flying back to Italy to order it...though I am still trying to pressure my husband to go back!

I found that the secret to depth of flavor in this dish is to toast your whole peppercorns before grinding them. Also, the very best quality Pecorino Romano or Parmesano Reggiano that you can find. When you only have a couple of ingredients, quality is key because you can taste each one very distinctly. So now is the time to splurge!

Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients :
  • 1 lb. Spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese 
  • 4 tbsp. Whole black peppercorns 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. 

Meanwhile, toast the peppercorns in a saute pan just until fragrant, careful not burn them. Remove from the heat and grind them in a spice grinder. 

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the noodles, but do not shake off the excess water. Place the noodles into a mixing bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the water and 1 cup of the cheese. Add more water as needed if the noodles appear too dry.

Plate into shallow bowls and top with the ground black pepper and top with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately. 

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