The name of this pasta dish literally translates to “cheese and pepper”, and it is just as delicious as it is when it’s prepared in a minimalist way. After all, they always say that less is more, and this recipe shows how delicious simplicity can be. Here’s how to prepare the perfect cacio e pepe.
- Kosher salt
- 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
- 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- ¾ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
- ⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino
- Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about two minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook until toasted, about one minute.
- Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter.
- Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until all the cheese melts, and sauce coats the pasta. (Add more pasta water if the sauce seems dry)
- Note that pasta itself should be cooked al Dante.