There are times when I just want a big bowl of pure, simple comfort for dinner. When that craving hits, I reach for the Roman classic cacio e pepe. It’s one of those dishes that is so incredibly simple but so darn fantastic. The name literally means cheese and pepper, and that’s all the sauce is really made of. That’s all it needs! When I have been pinched for time I’ve made it with boxed spaghetti to get it on the table in 20 minutes. This time though, I made the pasta fresh and it brought it to a whole new level!
Oh my goodness, this cacio e pepe was the bowl of pure comfort I was craving when I dove in. Cooking the pepper quickly in a little olive oil really woke it up and let it bloom. The cheese gave it the perfect amount of creaminess without it being heavy. Hope you all enjoy this amazing and super simple classic! Buon appetito!
Literally meaning cheese and pepper, cacio e pepe is the ultimate Italian comfort food dish. It's an incredible Roman version of mac and cheese!
- 11 ounces all-purpose flour just under 2 cups
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 pinch truffle salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus an additional drizzle for the end
- 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch truffle salt
- 3 cups freshly grated pecorino romano cheese plus additional for sprinkling on top
- First, prepare the pasta dough. Form the flour into a large well and crack the eggs right into it along with the salt. Use a fork to slowly beat the flour into the eggs without breaking the well until it starts to form a soft dough. Bring it all together into a ball and knead it for 2-3 minutes to make it springy and uniform. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic and set it aside to rest for an hour. While it rests set up your pasta roller, cutter and gather the ingredients for the sauce. Also get a large pot of water on the stove when it is almost done resting and bring it to a boil.
- When the dough is ready, cut it in half. On a clean, floured surface roll out the first half enough to be able to go through the pasta roller. Keep putting the dough through the pasta dough on progressively thinner settings (it will all depend on the roller) until it is thin enough to almost see your hand through it. The sheet of dough will be incredibly long at that point, so cut it in half. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough to get 4 sheets total. Then put each of the sheets through the spaghetti cutter, laying the spaghetti out carefully on the floured counter so that it doesn't clump together.
Boil the spaghetti for only a minute or two. While it boils, heat the olive oil in a large pan with deep sides over medium high heat. Add the pepper and salt and let them get fragrant for just 30 seconds. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and pour it into the skillet with the seasoning. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan, along with the cheese. Take the pan off of the heat and toss everything together thoroughly to let the cheese melt. Serve immediately with extra pecorino on top and enjoy!