cacio e pepe is pretty much the Italian version of mac and cheese. Its a fast, easy and delicious pasta dish – especially for the cheese lover. Its a dish thats acceptable to serve on a chill night with friends as well as a mid week dinner for when you are alone. Mac ‘n cheese is the greatest thing on the planet, I for one could eat it 7 days a week but I don’t due to the fact that salad is so much better for me, and so much less exciting, but this is the less kiddo version of mac ‘n cheese and with a glass of good red wine it certainly isn’t a children’s plate.
1 ½ cups / 3. 5 dl cups finely grated pecorino Romano, plus more for dusting completed dish
1 cup / 2. 5 dl finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more for finishing the dish
¾ pound /340 grams tonnarelli or other long pasta like linguine or spaghetti
Good olive oil
- Put a pot of salted water on to boil. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and black pepper; mash with just enough cold water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste evenly in the bowl.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. The second before it is perfectly cooked (taste it frequently once it begins to soften), use tongs to quickly transfer it to the bowl, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water. Stir vigorously to coat the pasta, adding a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. The sauce should cling to the pasta and be creamy but not watery.
- Plate and dust each dish with additional pecorino and pepper. Serve immediately.