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!

-Queen Christine



Cacio e Pepe
 
½ pound spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound Barricato al Pepe, finely grated (microplane works best)
 

  1.  In a large stock pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil; generously salt the water.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot of water and cook until a little less than al dente.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. Serve immediately, finishing with a sprinkle of reserved cheese. Optional: finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of lemon zest. 
  1. Serves 4