Cheese and Pepper Pasta (Cacio e pepe)

Serves

Four

Prep Time

10 Mins

Cook Time

15 Mins

Difficulty

Easy
  • Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

  • 40g (1.4 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 40g (1.4 oz) Pecorino cheese, grated

  • 400g (14 oz) spaghetti

  • 50g (1.7 oz) butter

Comments

This is beautiful, simple Italian comfort food. The trick is emulsifying the pasta water and cheese together to create a creamy sauce that coats each strand of pasta.

Pairs well with …..

Char grilled radicchio dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil 

Hints and tips:

Use a Microplane  zester to grate the cheese to achieve a light, airy texture.

Cook pasta according to packet directions.

Grate cheeses very finely, on a microplane, if you have one.

A few minutes before pasta is ‘al dente’ (cooked but still a little firm) heat the butter in a large fry pan or wok. Add the pepper and saute to release the flavour.

Remove ¾ of a cup of the pasta water and set aside.

Drain the pasta. Add a dash (about 2 tbs) of pasta water to the butter mixture and stir over low heat.

Add pasta to the butter mixture, stir to coat and add a handful of the cheese, stir and then add some pasta water and stir. Alternate the cheese and the water until they are all combined.

The cheese should melt into the pasta,the starch in the water helps to create a creamy, emulsified sauce, coating the strands.

Serve immediately sprinkled with extra cheese and pepper, if desired.

Note: 40 grams of cheese grated on a Microplane grater/zester yields 1 cup.