Cacio e Pepe
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Cacio e Pepe

A classic Roman pasta dish. The combination of black pepper and pecorino is something special. I like to use a softer pecorino, as it tends to melt smoother. Be patient with this dish. It may take a few tries to find the magic texture.

Ryan Goodwin

Ingredients

4 servings
  1. 1 salt
  2. 1 lb spaghetti
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  5. 6 oz peccorino, grated

Method

30 mins
  1. Cook spaghetti to just under al dente. Steps 2 and 3 can be performed as the pasta cooks.

    https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/355982-how-to-cook-dry-pasta

  2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the black pepper. The pepper should be pretty well ground, but it's nice to leave some larger chunks in the mix, sparks of flavor as they crush between your teeth.

  3. Heat olive oil in a pan large enough to accommodate your spaghetti. When the oil begins to bubble, toss in the black pepper. Stir over heat until the aroma of toasting black pepper hits you in the face. Quench the pan with a ladle of pasta water and remove from heat. Set aside.

  4. When the spaghetti is a couple minutes from being done, return the pepper infused water to a boil and make sure that your grated cheese is close at hand.

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  5. As the spaghetti nears doneness, just to the point that you would almost want to eat it, use a pasta spoon to scoop out and transfer the noodles from the boiling pasta water to the simmering sauce. Don't discard the pasta water just yet.

  6. Continue cooking the pasta in the pepper sauce, adding small ladles of pasta water as needed, until the spaghetti is cooked to your liking. Be careful not to overseason. That pasta water should be pretty salty.

  7. With the noodles perfectly cooked and some water remaining in the bottom of the pan, quickly remove the pan from heat and stir in the grated pecorino. The cheese should dissolve into a velvety sauce, almost as though you'd used egg as you would in a carbonara. This final step can take a little practice. You need the right temperature and the right amount of water left in the pan to get that awesome creamy texture. Keep at it. At least the mistakes are edible.

  8. To serve, just double check and adjust the seasoning before you scoop a portion into a bowl and get to work.

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