Cacio e Pepe
When you think pasta you think Italy. There are some dishes that have changed over time, but cacio e pepe is just three ingredients and nothing more: cheese, pasta and pepper.
Combining the cheese and the pasta cooking water at the right time makes for a naturally creamy sauce that is simply perfection.
We like to use the Monogrando Felicetti brand of pasta, which is preferred by chefs and foodies worldwide. In this particular dish we used spaghetti made with kamut, an ancient wheat variety. You’ll be surprised how much the flavor of a dish is influenced by the quality of the pasta, particularly of the grain used to make the pasta in the first place.
You can find this pasta in both of our markets.
Cacio e Pepe
- About 1/2 Tbsp whole peppercorns we like to use rainbow peppercorns
- 100 g finely grated Pecorino Romano about 2 1/2 cups (use the finest hole on your grater), plus more for serving if desired
- 8.5 oz. Monograno Felicetti spaghetti such as Kamut, an ancient wheat variety
- It’s best to use a mortar and pestle to grind the peppercorns or use the coarsest adjustment available on a peppermill. Once ground, portion out 1 1/2 teaspoons and set the rest aside.
- Place the grated cheese in a bowl and set aside.
- Fill a large pot a little less than half way full of water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add a generous amount of salt and then the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti for only half the cooking time indicated on the box. If using Monograno Felicetti, you will cook it for only 5 minutes. Do not discard pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of the pepper to the skillet to toast for about one minute or until it is fragrant. When pepper is fragrant, add 1 ladle full of the pasta cooking water.
- After pasta has cooked halfway to al dente (about 5 minutes), use tongs to transfer the pasta to the skillet, reserving the pasta cooking water. You’ll finish cooking the pasta in the skillet, risotto-style.
- Use tongs to move the pasta around in the skillet, adding one ladle full of pasta water as the previous addition is absorbed, repeating as necessary until the pasta is al dente. When the pasta is al dente, there should be a little of the starchy water left in the pan.
- Meanwhile, add about half a ladle full of the pasta water to the bowl of Pecorino. Stir it with a fork to make a paste.
- When the pasta is al dente, remove the pasta from the heat. Wait 30 seconds then and add the pecorino slurry to the skillet, stirring the mixture together with the tongs until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency that is a result of the cheese combining with the starchy liquid.
- Use tongs to divide and plate the pasta. Drizzle any remaining sauce from the skillet over the top of the dishes, add extra cheese if desired and season with the remaining pepper.