Cacio e Pepe
============ 2021-08-21

2 persons

A seemingly simple recipe, but one that requires a little care for its success. Cacio means cheese, here Pecoriono Romano, a rather salty pecorino, from the Rome area. This recipe caught my attention because Anthony Bourdain (Cacio e pepe) stated that it is the best pasta recipe in the world.
The result is indeed surprising, a typical case of synergy. It is important to end with the pasta coated with a creamy mixture of cheese and the other ingredients: pasta water, butter and pepper of course. Here we use a little less water than normal to concentrate the pasta starch.
Also use a little less salt (7 g per liter instead of 10 g) as Pecorino is a rather salty cheese. As for the cheese, it is recommended to grate it FINELY, so that it melts more easily, for example with a fine Microplane grater.
Finally, for cooking the pasta, I always find necessary to cook them few minutes longer than expected from the package for al-dente.
As this recipe suggests to remove them from the water 3 minutes before the end, I remove them at specified time for al-dente, which gives me some extra minutes necessary for the sauce.


220 g spaghetti
1.5 l saltwater
1 tablespoon freshly, coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter (in fact more like 3 ou 4)
80g  finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Cook the pasta for the time indicated on the package.
A few minutes before that time, heat a large enough fry pan to contain the pasta with butter, pepper, and when the pasta is cooked, add a small ladle of pasta water per person (here 2).
Transfer the pasta with pasta tongs into the pan. Mix while cooking until almost all liquid is absorbed by the pasta.
Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add, stirring, the finely grated cheese until nice and creamy.
Serve with freshly ground pepper and possibly a little grated cheese.