Recipe by Kumquat the Cat's friend
This is purported to be "the best quick meal" we've ever tasted, as per Yvonne Ruperti in Cook's Illustrated. There are two other recipes for cacio e pepe (pasta with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper) on RecipeZaar, but this one adds at least one more ingredient to keep the cheese from turning into a big clump. Add cream. This recipe was reprinted as "recipe of the week" in The Week magazine.
Top Review by Laura2of7
I didn't give this a rating because I didn't follow the recipe. I saw this dish made on America's Test Kitchen last week and was happy to find the recipe posted here. But when I went to make it, I realized that I didn't have any heavy cream, so tried to substitute half-and-half. That didn't quite work out very well. The sauce was just slightly less than smooth and melted cheese stuck to the bottom of the serving bowl.
Also, don't use more cooking water than called for. I used a quart and a half to boil 1/2 pound of pasta when the recipe specified 2 quarts for a whole pound. I understand the starch in the pasta water is an important part of this recipe, so that may have also had some bearing on the sauce consistency.
The flavor was great, and it couldn't have been easier to put together. The next time, I'll be sure to measure the water before adding the pasta. And I'll be sure to use heavy cream. No substitutions!
- 6 ounces pecorino romano cheese (2 cups finely grated and 1 cup coarsely grated)
- 1 lb spaghetti
- table salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
Directions See How It's Made
- Place finely grated Pecorino Romano in medium bowl. Set colander inside large bowl.
- Bring 2 courts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (or according to package directions). Drain pasta into colander, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 1/2 cups cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder. Return pasta to now-empty bowl.
- Slowly whisk 1 cup of reserved pasta water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.