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How to Make Cacio e Pepe the Roman Way 🇮🇹

This classic Roman dish is deceivingly simple but making a great cacio e pepe is all about technique and balance.

One of my favorite food blogs is Italia Squisita because it’s a network of top Italian chefs cooking the Italian way. I love seeing their reactions to viral cooking videos and learning from other bloggers and cooks mistakes. Cacio e pepe is seemingly simple because there are only a few ingredients but this dish (like most Italian dishes) is all about balance and technique. This recipe is inspired by Chef Claudio Gargioli of Armando al Pantheon in Rome. I chose rigatoni for pasta because it’s one of my favorites and I love how the sauce clings to the ridges and gets trapped inside of the tube. This recipe serves 4 people. 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino romano
  • 400 g (or about 3 1/4 cups) Rigatoni
  • Kosher salt

Process:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water (about 2 tablespoons per 4 quarts) up to a boil.
  2. Toast peppercorns in a pan over medium-low heat until oils begin to release (a couple minutes). Allow to cool on a flat surface and then grind. You can use a mortar and pestle, food processor or pepper grinder. Set aside.

3. Cook pasta until al dente, reserving a cup of pasta water toward the end of the boil. 

4. In a pan over no flame, pour cheese and slowly pour 1/2 cup of boiling pasta water and stir with a fork or whisk. Add more water if necessary as well as black pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon or more if desired). The cheese should not get solid or stretchy, it should become one with the water, a milky liquid. Continue stirring until completely incorporated (about 8 minutes). 

5. Stir for several minutes and add pasta. Continuing stirring and tossing until sauce is completely coating the pasta. 

6. Serve and garnish with more pecorino and black pepper. 

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