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Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

John Kernick
Total time 25 mins
Yield 4 to 6
Pasta cacio e pepe ("cheese and pepper") is made with Pecorino Romano, a tangy aged sheep's-milk cheese originally from Rome, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. In Lazio, chef Antonio Ciminelli of Osteria Fontana Candida serves an elegant version with short pasta on the menu, and a rustic one with spaghetti for staff.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Salt

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cheeses.

  2. Return the pasta to the pot. Working quickly, add 6 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, alternating with the cheeses; toss well to thoroughly coat the pasta between additions. Sprinkle on the black pepper and season the pasta with salt; toss again.

  3. Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking water, as necessary, tossing until a creamy sauce forms. Serve right away.