Cacio e Pepe – a classic Roman pasta

When it comes to pasta, the Romans have some absolute belters. They claim the ‘carbonara‘ and the ‘amatrciana‘. Both popular Italian pasta dishes that can be found not only in restaurants in Italy but at popular Italian foodie spots around the UK. Both dishes use ‘guanciale‘ (pig cheek) as a key ingredient. However, the Romans also claim another pasta dish, which can be enjoyed by liberal vegetarians (pecorino uses rennet which is an enzyme found in animal stomach lining, if we want to get technical). CACIO e PEPE is one of the most simplest and quickest of pasta dishes that could ever be made, However, it does involve a bit of concentration to make sure that the creamy cheesy sauce consistency is right. Get that right and use great quality produce, you are totally onto a winner to add to your regular dinner repertoire.

If you live in London and want know what its meant to taste and look like, I recommend trying it for yourself first at Padella or Via Emilia who serve up excellent versions.

Cacio e pepe (3 people)

  • 180g Pecorino romano,
  • 350g Spaghetti
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cacio e pepe (3 people)

  • First, GRATE the pecorino finely. PLACE in a large bowl, where all the spaghetti will fit.
  • Next, COOK the spaghetti in boiling salty water as instructed on the packet. I always cook my pasta one minute less to ensure that its ‘al dente’.
  • Half way through the pasta cooking, ADD a tablespoon of pasta water, to the grated pecorino and STIR. Keep adding a tablespoon of pasta water at a time until you have a light creamy consistency.
  • SEASON the cheese sauce with a generous amount of ground black pepper.
  • When the pasta is cooked, ADD it to the pecorino sauce, adding a little pasta water to loosen up the sauce if necessary.
  • SERVE immediately with more freshly grated pecorino on top.