Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino and black pepper spaghetti)
- Energy Kcal 491
- Carbohydrates g 66.4
- of which sugars g 2.5
- Protein g 23.4
- Fats g 14.7
- of which saturated fat g 8.7
- Fiber g 2.3
- Cholesterol mg 52
- Sodium mg 1239
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 10 min
- Serving: 4 people
- Cost: Low
Carbonara, the Amatriciana and Pasta alla Gricia, like spaghetti cacio e pepe, have by now become dishes that symbolize the Italian spirit, of eating well with “Protected Designation of Origin” ingredients and linked to traditions and territories where they originated. An excellence that moved from the "checkered tablecloths" to great chefs' kitchens. We too want to pay tribute to one of the symbols of good and genuine eating, showing you how to make a perfect cacio e pepe! The secret, in addition to the chemical combination of water and Pecorino proteins to obtain a cream without lumps, lies in the flavor: whole peppercorns crushed the same day and plunged into the pan to toast releasing all their pungent aroma; the pasta whisked slowly and in a controlled way to absorb all the taste of Pecorino romano cheese when you add the cream. Prepare and enjoy: this is another rule to taste the best spaghetti cacio e pepe! Get the forks ready!
Want to taste a variation of this classic dish? Let's try our cacio e pepe spaghetti with shrimps!
How to prepare Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino and black pepper spaghetti)
To prepare spaghetti cacio e pepe, first of all grate the Pecorino cheese. Continue boiling some water in a pan (use about half of what you usually use to cook pasta, so it will be richer in starch) and when it boils you can add salt to taste. Once salted, you can cook the spaghetti 1. In the meantime, pour the whole peppercorns on a cutting board 2, then crush them with a meat pestle or a grinder 3. This will release more of the pungent scent of the pepper.
Pour half of the crushed pepper into a large non-stick pan 4, toast over low heat stirring with a wooden spoon, then add a couple of ladles of cooking water 5. The bubbles you see appearing are from the starch contained in the water. Drain the spaghetti when it is very al dente (keeping the cooking water aside to use later) and pour the pasta directly into the pan with toasted pepper 6; it will continue cooking with the seasoning.
Stir the pasta continuously with the kitchen tongs to make it “breathe" 7 and add a ladle of water or two if necessary, to continue cooking 8. Keep pouring a ladle of water only when needed (when you see that the pan is almost completely dry) and stir with kitchen tongs. In the meantime, when the pasta is ready, prepare the Pecorino cream (don't start this operation before because the cream would get too thick): pour about half of the grated Pecorino cheese into a bowl 9.
Add a ladle of cooking water to the grated Pecorino cheese 10. Stir vigorously with a whisk 11 and add more water when needed. Then add the remaining half of the Pecorino cheese, keeping a little bit aside to garnish later 12. Add a little more water if needed: at this stage you will have to carefully adjust the amount of Pecorino cheese to the water to obtain a cream of the right consistency and without lumps.
Finish cooking your pasta, adding a little more hot water if necessary; before adding the Pecorino cream, briefly stir the cream by placing the bowl over the steam of the pan with hot water, always stir with the whisk 13, so as to bring the cream back to a temperature similar to the one of your pasta if necessary 14. Turn the heat off under the pan with spaghetti and pour in the Pecorino cream 15.
While pouring the Pecorino cream onto your spaghetti, stir it continuously with the kitchen tongs 16, pour the Pecorino you kept aside in too 17, stir and sauté the pasta again, then transfer your spaghetti cacio e pepe to a plate and season with the remaining pepper, enjoy immediately in all its creaminess 18!
We recommend eating spaghetti cacio e pepe immediately.
No form of storage is recommended.
It is important to use less cooking water than usual in the pasta (about half), because one of the important elements to make the heavenly "cream" and avoid lumps is to soak the spaghetti and Pecorino cheese with hot cooking water rich in starch.
If you prefer to test your abilities, our advice is to make half the amount so that it is easier to manage the ingredients of the cream with cheese.
For lovers of other shapes of pasta: you can also use mezze maniche pasta or rigatoni instead of spaghetti!
You can grate some lemon zest to “lighten” the Pecorino cream: purists won't get upset.