Cacio e Pepe
- Half pound of dried spaghetti
- 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (a quarter stick)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- half cup pecorino*
- half cup Parmigiano-Reggiano*
*Using a full cup of pecorino-romano and no Parmesan is most traditional. I like to do a blend. Pecorino-Romano is made with sheeps milk and can be a bit gamey to most people. You are welcome to use parmesan cheese only if you wish. But buy a hunk of cheese and grate it yourself. The pre-grated Kraft in a can bullshit has anti-caking agents in it and will ruin your sauce.
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta al dente. Save a cup of the startchy pasta water before straining the pasta out.
Add the freshly ground black to a large sauté pan set over medium heat and toast until fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add a half cup of pasta water to the pan, then add the cold butter and olive oil and bring to a simmer. Swirl the sauce regularly so that the olive oil and butter combine.
Add the pasta to the pan and toss to combine with the sauce. On low heat add the cheese slowly while tossing or stirring so that the cheese melts evenly and makes a sauce with the water/butter/oil. Add more pasta water if needed to adjust the sauce to the right consistency.
The Pecorino region of Italy makes wonderful white wines that pair perfectly with this dish. In the photo below I served my cacio e pepe with a Pecorino white, oven baked halibut, and my caesar salad.