How to Make Cacio e Pepe | Authentic Italian Recipe
Cacio e pepe is one of the simplest pasta dishes out there, yet one of the trickiest to master. Many cooks struggle to create a creamy sauce without thick clumps of stringy cheese.
To remedy the problem, the first step is to select a high quality pecorino cheese 9we would stay away from the Locatelli brand which is widely available but seemingly engineered not to melt). Secondly, the cheese should be pre-melted with hot pasta water, as described below.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- 5.5 oz. (160g) spaghetti
- 1 tbsp coarse ground pepper
- 1.75 oz. (50g) grated pecorino cheese
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the spaghetti and set a timer for 2 minutes less than the package-directed "al dente" cook time.
While the pasta boils, toast the pepper in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. After toasting the pepper, add a ladleful of pasta water into the skillet. Bring this to a simmer and add more pasta water as needed to maintain moisture in the pan.
Place the pecorino cheese in a bowl and stir in 2-3 ladles of pasta water, or enough to create a creamy paste. Set this aside for later.
When the timer goes off for the pasta, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce skillet. Add 2-3 more ladles of pasta water into the pan and bring to a simmer while stirring. Continue simmering the sauce until the pasta is al dente to your taste, adding a little more water as needed to maintain moisture.
As the pasta nears completion, raise the heat and stop adding water so that most of the excess moisture can thicken. Turn off the heat and vigorously stir in the pecorino paste until it completely coats the pasta. If the cheese seems too thick, simply add a spoonful of pasta water as necessary to thin it.
Serve immediately. Buon appetito!