My exchange daughter from Palermo was right. When in Rome, you must try the Cacio e Pepe. Very simple ingredients; VERY wonderful taste. The recipe below is the best attempt at recreating the dish I experienced in Rome. Enjoy!
- Kosher salt
- 6 oz.pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
- 3 Tbsp.unsalted butter, cubed, divided
- 1 tsp.freshly cracked black pepper- MUST be freshly cracked
- 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
- 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve. If you like more cheese or more pepper, have at it! This recipe does not need to be followed exactly. It varies depending on my mood or audience.
Note: In Rome, most every dish is served al dente. We sure cook the $**#& out of our pasta in America. It was a great surprise for me.