What is cacio e pepe?
Cacio e pepe translates to ‘cheese and pepper’ in Italian and is a classic Roman dish. Traditionally made using Pecorino and freshly cracked pepper, this recipe is quick to make and something you’ll likely always be able to rustle together when you haven’t been grocery shopping for a while.
How to make cacio e pepe?
The process behind cacio e pepe might sound too simple to be true, but once you’ve got the knack of it there’s no turning back. If you’ve ever read pasta recipes that talk about emulsifying the sauce, you’re about to put that into practice here. You essentially want to create a silky sauce by combining the finely grated cheese with the pasta water so that coats the pasta strands.
What do I need to make it?
As we’ve discussed, you’ll need cheese and pepper, but specifically finely grated Pecorino (although Parmesan will work too). Grate the cheese using a Microplane, not on a regular box grater. The black pepper should be coarsely ground and fresh, which you can either do in a pestle and mortar or with a looser pepper grinder. You’re looking for robust chunks of pepper to add flavour. When it comes to pasta, go for something long like spaghetti, linguine or bucatini. Lastly, you’ll need some butter and salt.
Want to take it up a notch? Try Abigail Donnelly’s cacio e pepe with squid ink pasta.