Perfect cacio e pepe

Post: To Boldly Go

Image from Smitten Kitchen


(Serves 2)

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 200g spaghetti (or pici, or tonarelli, if you can find them)
  • 80g pecorino romano, at room temperature, finely grated
  1. Toast the peppercorns in a very hot, dry pan until fragrant, then roughly crush.
  2. Bring a wide shallow pan of well-salted water to the boil, then add the pasta; it should be covered but not by much. Stir occasionally during cooking and, five minutes into the cooking time, scoop out 250ml water into a wide bowl to allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Drain the pasta and leave it to cool for a minute. Meanwhile, put the cheese and most of the pepper in a large, heavy bowl or pan and beat in some of the pasta water very gradually to make first a paste, and then a sauce the consistency of bechamel. Add the pasta and toss furiously while adding enough of the water (you shouldn’t need it all) to make a sauce that coats each strand. Don’t worry if it takes a while to come together – keep beating and it should happen.
  4. Divide between warm bowls, sprinkle over a little more pepper, and serve immediately.


This recipe is from the wonderful Debs Perlman and her Smitten Kitchen, September 3, 2018

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