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Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 160g Spaghetti
  • 100g Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 2.5g Whole black peppercorns

Method:

  1. Grate the Pecorino Romano cheese and place into a mixing bowl, reserving a little for adjustments at the end and to sprinkle over the top.
  2. Crush the peppercorns using a pestle and mortar or grinder, ensuring that some larger pieces remain.
  3. Fill a pan with about half the usual amount of water you would normally use for pasta and bring it to a boil.
  4. Add a little salt to the boiling water, if desired.
  5. Add the spaghetti and cook according the the instructions on the packet, certainly no longer and preferably a little less.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan, toast the crushed peppercorns over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  7. Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the cooking water, and add it to the pan of pepper.
  8. Add a ladle of the spaghetti water, leave on a low heat and stir frequently with tongs. If the pan dries out then add more of the spaghetti water and stir well.
  9. Pour a ladle of hot cooking water into the bowl of grated cheese. Mix vigorously with a hand whisk until a thick, pasty consistency is achieved.
  10. Add the Pecorino cream to the drained spaghetti, stirring constantly with tongs. Adjust the creaminess by adding more Pecorino or cooking water as needed.
  11. Divide between two pasta bowls and garnish with any remaining cheese.
  12. Serve immediately.

Notes:

The key to mastering calcio e pepe lies in the careful balance of water and Pecorino Romano cheese, which is crucial for achieving a smooth and creamy texture without any lumps. This recipe brings together a creamy sauce with al dente spaghetti and freshly ground peppercorns, toasted to enhance their aroma. Each component blends harmoniously in the pan, where gentle and consistent stirring ensures that the rich flavor of the cheese permeates every bite of the dish.
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