Cacio e pepe is one of those pasta dishes that people overcomplicate. They add cream, milk, flour, cornstarch and so many different ingredients to try to achieve the perfect taste and consistency. But the only ingredients you really need are in the name: cacio (cheese) and pepe (pepper). That’s right, including the spaghetti this is a three-ingredient pasta dish that you can make when you get home after a long day at work and that will make you feel like you just ate a gourmet meal.
Cacio e pepe
Preparation time (including cooking time): 15 minutes
Source: Smitten Kitchen
8 oz (225g) of dried spaghetti
2 oz (65g) of freshly-grated pecorino romano or parmesan (add a little extra salt if you use the latter)
A good dose of pepper (all in your control!)
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot with a spoon of salt. Cook as indicated on the packaging.
In a small bowl, mix the pepper and parmesan, add 1 tbsp. of cold water and blend. Keep adding cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until you get a smooth paste, similar to mascarpone. I only used about two tablespoons.
When the pasta is done, remove about one cup of pasta water and drain pasta in a colander before moving it into a serving bowl.
Add cheese and pepper sauce to the spaghetti, and mix with a little pasta water. Keep mixing and adding pasta water until you get a creamy consistency (you’ll also be able to hear that weirdly-satisfying gooey sound). The sauce should coat every single strand of pasta. Add a little extra grated cheese if you want.
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