Cacio e pepe literally translates to “cheese and pepper,” and while those are the prominent flavors here, this dish is so much more. The minimalist recipe calls for only a few ingredients and doesn’t even include garlic. But the techniques outlined here elevate the dish to something magnificent.
- Grate the cheese and grind the pepper. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it boils, add a generous quantity of sea salt and add the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a separate pan, large enough to hold all of the ingredients, including pasta. Pour the pepper in the hot oil and stir around for about a minute or two.
- When pasta is a bit firmer than al dente, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water and add more if necessary.
- Strain the pasta and pour one cup of the hot pasta water into the pan with the oil and pepper. After it starts boiling, pour in the pasta and stir. Add an additional 1/2 cup of pasta water and simmer for a total of about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In the same pan, while still hot, dump in the grated Pecorino Romano, stir vigorously until you’ve achieved a creamy consistency. Divide and serve.
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