Cheese and carbs are truly a match made in heaven. Add quick, easy, and Italian to the mix and boy do you have a winner! The classic Roman dish Cacio e Pepe, or pasta with cheese and pepper, is so simple, and yet so full of flavor. I recently started a new job (at Bon Appétit) so quick and easy was key for this week’s post. Alongside some roasted baby brussels sprouts and a light arugula salad, Cacio e Pepe was a perfect meal to prepare for friends after a busy work week.
For 3-4 Servings (depending on how hungry you and your friends are) you will need:
1lb long, thin pasta (preferably fresh!)
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma (if you can’t find it, you can use pecorino romano)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt + more pepper, to taste
Since there are so few ingredients in this dish, I made sure to find the absolute BEST versions of what I needed. I hit Eataly and grabbed a pound of pasta alla chitarra, fresh local butter, and imported italian cheeses.
Get a large pot of salted water heating up on the stove.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter — to quote my girl Ina, “It may look like a lot, but it is the sauce for the whole dish.” Add the pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until it is fragrant.
Get the pasta cooked, according to the package — for fresh pasta it is only a couple of minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water for the sauce.
Add about half of the reserved pasta water to the butter and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked pasta and toss until all of the pasta is coated.
Off the heat, add the cheeses and toss together until combined — add more pasta water if the sauce seems too dry.
Serve immediately, with more cheese on top if you like! Buon appetito!