RECIPE OF THE WEEK 

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Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb pasta, either thick spaghetti, tonarelli, or bucatini 

  • 2 cups Pecorino Romano, freshly grated

  • 2 tsp Black pepper (freshly ground)

  • Pasta water (you’ll make this along the way!)

  • Kosher salt (to taste)

Notes before you begin: 

  • Generously salt the pasta water.  It should have the same salinity as the ocean.  Remember, only a little of this will actually get into the pasta itself and will exponentially bring out the flavor. 

  • This dish is very simple and basically made up of three ingredients: Pasta, black pepper, and pecorino romano.  This means that each needs to shine through!  Get the nicer versions of each ingredient (a good block of Pecorino, a higher quality Italian-made pasta, etc) and you will not regret it!

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the pasta.  Make sure the water continues at a rolling boil after adding the pasta--basically, keep it on high heat or whatever heat keeps a lot of large bubbles in the pot.  However long the box says to cook the pasta, take off two minutes and start tasting a piece every twenty seconds.  The pasta should be al dente (a little chewy) but you should still cook it to your taste.

  2. While the pasta cooks, place a small pan over medium-high heat and pour in the black pepper. Gently move the pan every so often to ensure the pepper does not burn. When the pepper is fragrant, remove it from the heat and pour into a medium mixing bowl with the grated pecorino. Then, ladle ⅛ cup of pasta water into the cheese and pepper bowl, mixing to make a cheesy paste. 

  3. Once your pasta is done, scoop off another ½ cup of the water and strain it through a colander. Before the pasta has time to cool, add it to the bowl of cheese and pepper. Stir the pasta and paste together, drizzling with pasta water until the mixture is creamy. 

  4. Pour into a serving bowl or a roll onto a long platter, garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and more grated pecorino over the top.  Enjoy!