Shortly after my boyfriend and I got back from our amazing 12 day trip to Italy (emphasis on the AFTER), my boyfriend said he had watched Anthony Bourdain chowing down on some amazing looking pasta in Rome called Cacio e Pepe.
Cacio e Pepe, literally cheese and pepper, is a classic Roman dish made from the simplest of ingredients: water, pasta, cheese, freshly ground black pepper and butter.
And it's simply amazing. If you ever see it on a menu, order it. Or, better yet, make it yourself!
It's become one of our favorite meals to repare and I hope it might become one of your favorites as well.
Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 6-10 mins | Yield: 2 servings
Half pound spaghetti or bucatini
1/2 cup salted boiling pasta water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated pepper, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
Basil or other green for extra garnish (my basil is from my home garden, hence the caterpillar bites)
Cook pasta according to directions on the box (add salt to water). After pasta has cooked for several minutes, ladle out 3/4 - 1 cup boiling pasta water and set aside. When pasta is extremely al dente (about 2 minutes before you would normally strain), remove the pasta and strain. Set aside momentarily. Add boiling pasta water, butter and pepper to a hot sauce pan. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss through the water mixture until the pasta absorbs almost all of the water. Remove from heat and add cheese to pasta. Toss and garnish with more cheese and pepper, to taste.