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Cacio e pepe

(recipe, Katie Hickey)

Introduction

Easily my favorite pasta dish. We got this recipe from the "Roman dishes" feature in an issue of Saveur magazine.

Ingredients

  1. Kosher salt, to taste
  2. 1 lb. pasta, preferably tonnarelli or spaghetti
  3. 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more
  5. to taste
  6. 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  7. ¾ cup finely grated Cacio de Roma

Steps

  1. 1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes; reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle ¾ cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly. Sprinkle ¾ cup each Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary. Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino and more pepper.
  2. Pairing Note A medium-bodied sangiovese, like the 2005 Brancaia Tre Toscana ($21), will complement this dish's peppery notes. — David Rosengarten