For this cacio e pepe recipe, pasta is tossed with butter, olive oil, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses, all dusted with lots of black pepper.
The lovely Amanda Hesser has said that the cook–that’s you–will likely be tempted to add more cheese, butter, and oil to this recipe. Well, damn it: Resist the impulse. According to Amanda, there should be just enough butter and oil to coat the pasta like a salad dressing. The cheese should be considered a seasoning on top. Too much oil and butter, the pasta will sit in an oil slick. Too much cheese and it’ll make it loathsomely clumpy. When done right, it’s an elegant dish with compact flavor. Originally published August 18, 2003.–Amanda Hesser
Quick Cacio e Pepe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 35 M
- Serves 2 to 4
- Salt (sea, Kosher, or table)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 pound linguini fini, spaghettini, or your favorite long pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon very coarse, freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in several tablespoons of salt.
- 2. Meanwhile, mix both cheeses together in a small bowl. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook it for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Near the end of cooking, scoop out about 1/2 cup of cooking water and set it aside.
- 3. Drain the pasta in a colander and dump it back on the pot. Drop in the butter, oil and 1/2 tablespoon pepper and stir with tongs or a large fork, lifting and folding the pasta together. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pot and place it over medium-high heat. Cook for a minute, stirring to emulsify the sauce. Test a noodle to see if it’s done. It should still be a bit firm in the center, though not as stiff as licorice. Remove from the heat and sprinkle half the cheese over the pasta. Blend once more, then divide the pasta among four warm bowls. Pass the rest of the cheese and pepper at the table.