I love cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta)… A quick and easy recipe which however hides some pitfalls which we will try to overcome together with you.
First of all we need to clarify one thing: oil also goes into cacio e pepe. Not a liter of oil as often happens in Roman trattorias. You need a drop of oil to flavor the pepper.
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 250 grams of spaghetti (or rigatoni)
- 30 grams of Parmesan (approximately!)
- 60 grams of pecorino (approximately!)
- A little extra virgin olive oli
- black pepper
- Lemon peel or 1/2 artichoke (optional)
Boil some water, salt it and throw in the spaghetti.
Heat some oil in a large pan, once the oil is hot add the black pepper and if you want some lemon peel which will serve to dilute the strong flavor of the pecorino (advice from my chef at the cooking class). Leave on the heat for a couple of minutes.
Take a cup and fill it with the pasta cooking water. Drain the spaghetti at least three minutes before cooking. Light the pan with the oil and put in the water you have taken from cooking. Throw in the spaghetti and cook until they are ready (al dente, please!), adding more cooking water if necessary. Turn off the heat, leaving the spaghetti with plenty of sauce (cooking water and oil) which will avoid making your cacio e pepe a nice pimp. Wait for it to cool for about a minute (otherwise the cheese will cook!) and gradually throw the cheese (percorino) and parmesan into the pan. If you are capable, stir-fry with a rapid movement of the pelvis accompanied by the movement of the wrist. However, if you are not so handy, we recommend mixing with a ladle. If the creamy cream has not formed, add further cooking water (without exaggerating!)
Pepper to taste.
If you want to add a touch of class you can fry some artichoke cut into small pieces and present it together with the cacio e pepe as is recently used in some sophisticated trattorias in Rome.