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Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

This is one of the hardest pasta dishes to make. One must have the best spaghetti, a very sharp aged Pecorino Romano and whole Tellicherry peppercorns in order for it to taste great. Give it your undivided attention and work quickly when making it.

  • Ready in: 1 Hour
  • Serves: 5
  • Complexity: advanced
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Rustichella d'Abruzzo Spaghetti
  • 2 cups very sharp Pecorino Romano
  • a handful of Tellicherry Peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • a Mortar & Pestle to crush the pepper
  • Coarse sea salt for the pasta water

Directions

  1. DSC04658-300x225Step 1Grate the Pecorino Romano both fine and coarse, so you have a mixture of texture. Grate as much Pecorino as possible. It's better to have more than less.

  2. DSC04662-300x225 Step 2In the mortar and pestle, and while covering with your hand, crush the Tellicherry peppercorns into a mixture of coarse and fine ground. Be careful when crushing the peppercorns since they will shoot away like bullets.

  3. DSC04659-300x225Step 3Essential to this recipe is a pasta pot with the colander insert, which will allow you to work quicker.

  4. DSC04663-300x225Step 4 It's very important to drop the pasta into a pot full of boiling salted water (the water should taste like sea-water).

  5. DSC04665-225x300Step 5Drop the spaghetti into a fan form or as if playing pick-up-sticks. Do not stir nor manipulate. Cover until the water comes back to a boil. Let them soften and fall slowly into the water as it comes back to a rolling boil. Gently push the spaghetti into the water and toss very gently, being careful not to break them.

  6. DSC04668-300x225Step 6 After about 5 minutes or so, a starchy foam will appear on the surface of the water. Using a glass measuring cup or any cup, remove about 2 cups full of this foamy water and keep near the flame so it keeps hot.

  7. DSC04669-300x225Step 7 Drain the spaghetti before they will be al dente and never rinse them with cold water. You need to work very quickly from now...

  8. DSC04684-300x225Step 8 Toss the spaghetti right back into the hot pot you used to boil them, and turn the flame back on.

  9. DSC04676-300x225Step 9Add a handful of the grated Pecorino and using a pair of tongs, mix the spaghetti carefully so that the Pecorino is well distributed.

  10. DSC04683-300x225Step 10 Immediately, pour some of the starchy water to dilute and amalgamate the cheese. Mix vigorously. Add the crushed pepper until you see enough to resemble the skin of a Dalmatian: specks of black dotting the creamy white pasta.

  11. DSC04685-300x225Step 11 Continue to add more Pecorino and water until the spaghetti are covered with a creamy layer of cheese. Serve immediately in warm pasta dishes and eat right away.

Products Used in This Recipe