Pasta cacio e pepe, cheese and black pepper pasta

That’s my choice for the first meal of the year 2015: PASTA CACIO E PEPE (pasta with cheese and black pepper). It’s a classic Roman recipe prepared with pecorino romano cheese but this is my version. A while ago I was a girl visiting Rome and willing to cook a traditional local recipe and after having looked up for some tips that’s the recipe I came up with and that I have been following since then. It’s a super quick and easy recipe, delicious and hearty.

I will write the recipe for 500g of pasta… whatever you reckon is enough for 2 or 4 it’s up to you and your stomachs!

Ingredients

5 liters water

3 table spoons of salt

5 spoons of extra virgin olive oil

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 large table spoons of freshly ground black pepper

250g grated PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE: it’s a hard and salty cheese , ideal for grating like the parmesan, made out of sheep’s milk. I just brought back some from Italy but I normally find it in small blocks at Sainsbury’s.

500g of long shaped pasta (I used “spaghetti alla chitarra” that I bought in Italy but normal spaghetti would do)

Method

Fill up a large pot with 5 liters water and bring to boil then add the salt.

In between put in a cold pan the oil, the garlic and the black pepper and heat up on a very slow fire: the garlic has to cooked and become slightly transparent and soft but doesn’t have to fry or toast. Let cool down.

In a bowl mix the grated cheese with some of the cooking water for the pasta. Add a ladle per time and mix well to obtain a kind of creamy mixture (2 ladles of water should be enough).

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook “al dente” following the instructions on the pasta package. Keep on the side a half cup of the cooking water.

Toss the drained pasta in the pan with the oil, garlic and black pepper and mix well, off the stove. Keeping the pan off the stove add the cheese mixture and mix very well using 2 forks and breaking the eventual clots of cheese until you obtain a creamy texture (add some of the cooking water you left behind if the result is too dry). You need to act quickly while the pasta is hot!

The pasta is ready and has to be served immediately.

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