Cacio e Pepe
Everytime I’m standing next to Peter behind the cheese counter, and he suggests to someone to grate the Barricato al Pepe over some pasta, first I get hungry. Then I think, why am I not making this extremely easy, delicious dinner every week? It’s actually a quick way to achieve the dish that is probably on every menu in Rome, Cacio e Pepe – a dish which is simply pasta with cheese and pepper. Classically made with Pecorino Romano and toasted peppercorns, the Barricato al Pepe will do the job in one fell swoop. A cow’s milk cheese from Italy, Barricato al Pepe has peppercorns throughout the cheese and a peppery rind, bringing a balance of pepper and butter to this dish. Finished in a sauté pan, the starchy pasta water will create a creamy sauce that coats each strand of pasta beautifully. This is a quick, easy dish that you can enjoy as is, and also recreate all year long by adding in any additional spices, meat or veggie for a heartier meal. As they say in Rome, Buon Appetito!
Cacio e Pepe
½ pound spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound Barricato al Pepe, finely grated (microplane works best)
- In a large stock pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil; generously salt the water.
- Add the pasta to the pot of water and cook until a little less than al dente.
- Using tongs or a small strainer, transfer the pasta to a large sauté pan, along with about ¼ cup of the pasta water and butter.
- Stir for about 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add in the cheese, lower to medium heat, and toss pasta until a sauce is created. Add in more pasta water in small amounts if necessary to loosen the sauce.
- Serve immediately, finishing with a sprinkle of reserved cheese. Optional: finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of lemon zest.
- Serves 4