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.
- 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
Step 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.
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.
Step 3Essential to this recipe is a pasta pot with the colander insert, which will allow you to work quicker.
Step 4 It's very important to drop the pasta into a pot full of boiling salted water (the water should taste like sea-water).
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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...
Step 8 Toss the spaghetti right back into the hot pot you used to boil them, and turn the flame back on.
Step 9Add a handful of the grated Pecorino and using a pair of tongs, mix the spaghetti carefully so that the Pecorino is well distributed.
Step 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.
Step 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.