Cacio e Pepe


This is by far the simplest and the most classic pasta dish ever grace this earth. Sometimes, the simpler the dish, the easier it is to screw things up. If you follow my Instagram stories, I will explain in details which pasta to buy for the best pasta results. If you missed my stories, do not worry, I saved them in my highlights.

Spaghetti is traditionally used for this pasta dish, but I find that spaghetti is overrated and overused, while linguine is the polar opposite. Use whatever black peppercorns you can afford. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different brands with a wide range of prices. Use whatever brands you think is worth your money on. At the end of the day, it is the technique that will elevate this dish. Speaking of technique, for the best results, toast the peppercorns before grinding them in a mortar and pestle. Yes, blitzing the peppercorns in a spice grinder will somehow "dilute" the intensity of the peppercorns. I also threw in some pink peppercorns. It permeates the pasta ever so slightly.

As for the cheese, use pecorino romano. Do not buy those pre-grated ones. They contain sawdust which preventing the cheese from clumping together. Yes. Sawdust. Somehow the food regulator permitted them. Please, for the love of food, buy a good quality block and grate them freshly whenever you need some cheese. It is magical how just 3 ingredients will create such a complex dish. Simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication. I hope you will give this recipe a try.

Ingredients:

(Serve 1)

  • Black Peppercorns, 2 TSP

  • Pink Peppercorns, 5

  • Good Quality Linguine, 200g

  • Sea Salt, For Seasoning

  • Pecorino Romano Freshly Grated, A Good Handful

Equipment:

  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Mortar & Pestle

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add in black and pink peppercorns.

  2. Toast until aromatic.

  3. Transfer into a mortar and grind the peppercorns coarsely with pestle.

  4. Set aside.

  5. In the same skillet over medium heat, add 400ml of hot water and 100g of linguine.

  6. Season the water with salt until the water taste like the ocean.

  7. Cook the pasta until al dente.

  8. Remove the pasta.

  9. What you are left with is starchy pasta water.

  10. *Do not discard this water.*

  11. Add hot water into the pasta water until it reaches 400ml.

  12. Add in the remaining 100g of pasta.

  13. Taste the water if any more salt is needed.

  14. Cook until the pasta is al dente.

  15. It is simple calculation that when the pasta is almost al dente, the liquid will almost evaporate.

  16. Add in the ground pepper.

  17. Toss to combine well.

  18. Remove from heat.

  19. Toss in the cheese.

  20. Transfer into serving plate.

  21. Serve immediately.

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