Easy and authentic Cacio e Pepe! Made with just 4 ingredients including pasta, romano cheese, black pepper and salt. It's such a humble yet impressive dish with unmistakably satisfying flavor!
Ready in: 25minutes
10oz.bronze cut spaghetti
1 1/2tspcoarsely ground black pepper,or to taste
4oz.Pecorino Romano cheese,finely grated
Pour 7 cups warm water into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and season with salt (I use 1.5 tsp).
Once it boils add pasta and cook about 1/3 shy of the al dente time listed on the package (so if it lists 10 to 11 minutes cook about 7). Do not drain pasta water!
When pasta is almost done add pepper to a 12-inch skillet and heat over medium-low heat until lightly toasted, tossing frequently, about 2 minutes.
Using a ladle (the long handle will prevent steam burns), pour 1 cup water pasta water from spaghetti pot into skillet with pepper. Then scoop out and set aside 1/4 cup pasta water by cheese to cool.
Add the nearly cooked pasta to skillet and cook and toss very frequently until pasta is just al dente, about 5 minutes, while adding more pasta water a half ladle at a time as needed to thin (it shouldn't ever be dry, there should be some excess moisture).
Remove from heat and let the skillet and pasta cool for 1 - 2 minutes.
Meanwhile add the Romano cheese to a medium bowl. Pour in that 1/4 cup pasta water into cheese and stir with a fork to blend.
Pour cheese mixture over pasta. Toss to melt and coat the pasta with cheese while adding more pasta water from pot to thin as needed.
Serve right away.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Only use an Italian imported Pecorino Romano, others likely won't work well here and the flavor will be lacking.
For best results use a bronze cut spaghetti, this specific type will release more starches which will help bind the sauce and pasta more adequately.
Stick with the amount of water listedto cook the pasta. Any more and you'll drowned it out. You want a smallish amount for a more concentrated starch content.
Do not drain the pasta in a colander, you want that pasta water nearby because you'll use a fair amount of it throughout the process. Use tongs or a pasta ladle to remove it right from the boiling pot of water and transferring to the skillet.
Keep to the step of toasting the pepper first for that extra layer of flavor.
Use chopsticks or long kitchen tweezers (if you have them) when tossing the pasta in the skillet so pasta doesn't break so easily. Tongs and other tools don't work quite as well.
Let the pasta cool off heat just slightly before adding the cheese mixture. Otherwise it can overheat and clump up from the overly hot residual heat of the pan.
As it rests it thickens so you can thin with more pasta water as needed.