Spaghetti cacio e pepe
- November 2016
- Serves 2-4
- Hands-on time 25 min
We’ve tweaked the traditional recipe for ‘cheese and pepper’ pasta so the cheese is guaranteed to melt evenly and the flavours are simple, yet satisfying.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 15.7g (9.7g saturated)
- 23.9g protein
- 36.4g (1.4g sugars)
- 200g spaghetti
- 200g pecorino romano cheese (or vegetarian alternative, such as gran moravia), plus extra to serve
- Freshly ground black pepper (we used 50-60 grinds of a pepper mill – about 2 tbsp), plus extra to taste
- Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, grate the cheese very finely into a large heatproof mixing bowl (see tip) and grind in the pepper. When the pasta is 2 minutes away from al dente (after about 6-8 minutes), scoop out a small cup (about 200ml) of the cooking water and reserve. Lift the pasta out of the pan into a colander using tongs, leaving the water in the pan over a gentle heat.
- Tip the drained pasta, along with the reserved cup of water, into the bowl of cheese, then sit the bowl back on top of the pan containing the pasta water, which should only be gently bubbling. Using two forks, toss the pasta, cheese, pepper and water vigorously in the bowl until the cheese melts and emulsifies with the water to coat the pasta. As soon as it’s smooth, taste to check the seasoning. Serve immediately, with an extra grating of cheese and a grind of black pepper. A green salad with a sharp lemony dressing would go well alongside, too.
While not strictly traditional, we’ve found this method for ‘cheese and pepper’ pasta to be the most foolproof. It ensures the cheese melts evenly without becoming claggy – but you’ll need to use a very fine grater. This serves 2 but will serve 4 as a starter.
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