This is one of my very favorites! You have to invest in the right cheese though for this. This is so good you don’t want to cut corners on the cheese. Imported Pecorino Romano is the key ingredient . It is made with sheep’s milk and has a very distinctively pungent, salty flavor that has no resemblance to domestic cheeses simply labeled Romano. They are made with cow’s milk and will lack the punch you want from the real deal!
Spaghetti Alla Cacio E Pepe (with cheese & pepper)
6 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, 4 oz. finely grated (about 2 cups) and 2 oz. coarsely grated (about 1 cup) (see note)
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons heavy cream (see note)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
Place finely grated Pecorino in medium bowl. Set colander in large bowl.
Bring 2 qts. water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 1/2 tsp. salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain pasta into colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 1/2 cups cooking water into liquid measurng cup and discard remainder; return pasta to now empty bowl.
Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.
Note: Use small holes on a box grater to grate the cheese finely and the large holes to grate it coarsely. Alternatively, a food processor may be used to grate it finely: Cut the Pecorino into 2 inch pieces and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. For a slightly less rich dish, substitute half and half for the heavy cream. Do not adjust the amount of water for cooking the pasta. Stir the pasta frequently while cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot. Letting the dish rest briefly before serving allows the flavors to develop and the sauce to thicken.
Enjoy! Let me know how you like it!
This is linked to Weekend Cooking @ Beth Fish Reads!