Cacio e Pepe
Inspired by : How to Make BEST CACIO E PEPE PASTA
A seemingly simple recipe, but one that requires a little care for its success. Cacio means cheese, here Pecoriono Romano, a rather salty sheep's milk cheese, 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 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. It is your decision.
220 g spaghetti
1.5 l salted water (see text)
1 tablespoon freshly, coarsely ground pepper
80 g finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Cook the pasta for the time indicated on the package for al-dente.
A few minutes before this time, heat a frying pan, large enough to hold the pasta. Add the pepper and toast it lightly (be careful not to burn it). When the pasta is cooked, add to the pan a small ladle of the pasta water per person (here 2).
Take the pasta out of the water with pasta tongs and put it in the pan.
Continue cooking for a few minutes, while stirring and adding more of the pasta water, as for a risotto, until the pasta is completely cooked and a sauce begins to form in the pan. It takes longer than expected (plus de 3 mn...)..
Quickly add, while stirring, the finely grated cheese to obtain a creamy mixture, making sure not to heat too much.
Add more pasta water, several times, to make sure to obtain a creamy sauce, the pasta absorbing more liquid than expected!
Serve with freshly ground pepper and possibly a little more grated cheese.