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Creamy cheese and pepper: how to prepare it to perfection?


Cheese and black pepper

The recipe for cacio e pepe pasta in Rome is a real institution: here’s how to prepare this traditional first course to perfection.

Today we are going to discover the original recipe of spaghetti cacio e pepe, a typical pasta of the Roman culinary tradition. Much loved throughout Italy, this dish is one of the most famous first courses , together with carbonara, gricia and amatriciana, but among the four it is the simplest and for which fewer ingredients are needed.

In reality, its simplicity is only apparent, and indeed, precisely because the main ingredients, besides pasta, are only two, the difficulty lies in balancing them perfectly, and in creating a savory and creamy sauce at the right point. The pitfalls, in fact, are just around the corner: cooking, lump formation, excess salt … in short, if you want to discover all the secrets to prepare this pasta to perfection, you are in the right place. Let’s start right away and see the recipe for spaghetti with cacio e pepe alla romana!

Preparation of the cheese and pepper
Preparation of the cheese and pepper

Preparation of cacio e pepe pasta: original recipe

What kind of cheese is cacio? Although many use the word cacio to refer to cheese in general, only pecorino romano is used to make this pasta!

Cacio e pepe step 1
Cacio e pepe step 1

1. Start by putting on the water for the pasta, remembering to salt it a little so as not to risk getting a pasta that is too savory. Don’t worry, pecorino will take care of the taste!

Cacio e pepe step 2
Cacio e pepe step 2

2. At this point, take care of the sauce : then take the shape and grate it , then leave the cheese aside.

Cacio e pepe step 3
Cacio e pepe step 3

3. Now you have to create the classic cream cheese, and to do this you have to melt the cheese with water. But how to avoid the formation of lumps, and create that very unpleasant glue effect? Simple, with the cooking water : the starch released from the pasta, in fact, will hinder the tendency of proteins to coagulate in contact with heat. To do this, there are two different ways : the first is to drain the pasta in a pan with a few ladles of cooking water, mix it with the pecorino and toss until you get the right creaminess. If you want an even safer method, you can blend the cheese with the water with an immersion blender: pour a couple of ladles at a time, checking the consistency, then add the pasta and mix.

4. As for carbonara, this operation must not be done with a high heat: too high a heat will end up tearing the cheese, which will become either a single blob or a group of lumps.

Cacio e pepe step 5
Cacio e pepe step 5

5. You just have to add the black pepper (plenty of it, of course, otherwise what sense would it make!) And serve the pasta immediately. The dish is ready, enjoy your meal!

If you liked this recipe, here is the video of the preparation !

If you have it and want to try a different technique, we recommend that you also try the cacio e pepe with the Thermomix : you will be speechless !

The recipe for cacio e pepe: tips for use

Cheese and black pepper
Cheese and black pepper

Clearly, as you have seen, creaminess must be the main attribute of this pasta, which otherwise would be a simple white pasta with a sprinkling of pepper and cheese on top. But if you want other devices, here are some tips and tricks for a perfect result.

  • It may seem trivial, but the use of quality raw materials is one of the fundamental rules. First of all, which pecorino is used for cacio e pepe? The choice must fall on a not too seasoned pecorino romano, since the more it is, the more you risk the formation of lumps . For pepper, on the other hand, the best choice would be to buy peppercorns and crush them at home. A tip: for a perfect result, toast it lightly before grinding!
  • Can’t you just make it creamy ? Then try this foolproof method for making cacio e pepe . While the pasta is cooking, take a few ladles of water and mix them with grated cheese and pepper until you get a compact cream. Drain the pasta in a salad bowl, without adding oil and complete with the cream, added immediately .
  • Finally, a small variant that is prepared in Rome. Some, to give a note of acidity to the dish, conclude the preparation with a grating of lemon zest , which balances the flavors, contrasting with the flavor and fatness of the cheese. Try it, with this move your pasta will be really delicious!

What kind of pasta to use for the cacio e pepe?

Yes, we have a weakness for spaghetti, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use other types of pasta to prepare this delicious dish of Roman cuisine. So here are some tips, but in general choose the pasta you like best: the important thing is that it is up to par with this splendid sauce and that it is able to enhance it .

cacio e pepe with different pasta shapes: bucatini, rigatoni, pici, tonnarelli
cacio e pepe with different pasta shapes: bucatini, rigatoni, pici, tonnarelli
  • Bucatini cacio e pepe : if you want to ennoble this sauce and stay in Rome at the same time, then bucatini is the pasta for you. These are thick spaghetti with holes in the center (hence the name) that guarantee a greedy and appetizing result , thanks to the pasta that is more present in the mouth.
  • Rigatoni with cheese and pepper : they are the perfect format for those who prefer the short. Moreover, thanks to the cavity they are perfect for holding the sauce : do not be surprised if they are very popular!
  • Pici cacio e pepe : pici are a long handmade pasta and are typical of Tuscany, mainly in the south of the region. Here Lazio goes beyond its borders and therefore meets another Italian specialty , a type of pasta made only with water, flour and salt, sometimes with eggs.
    Being long and full-bodied spaghetti, with this type of pasta you will give even more flavor to every bite, a bit like we told you for bucatini!
  • Tonnarelli with cheese and pepper : many say that the best recipe is made with tonnarelli. Here we are dealing with an egg pasta, therefore intense and tasty, with a porous consistency and which satisfy the palate with every forkful.
    Perhaps you have already heard them called spaghetti alla chitarra, and the reason is the tool with which they are made, the guitar, a wooden frame on which steel wires are stretched.

If you love this recipe, try the Cannavacciuolo cheese and pepper risotto : it won’t disappoint you! Fans of the chef can also have fun with Cannavacciuolo cacio e pepe : a simple recipe but with a secret ingredient you can’t imagine!

storage

This dish is at its best when freshly prepared . If you have any, you can keep it in a tightly closed container for a couple of days. The next day, however, the cheese in contact with the heat will congeal into a single block, to avoid ruining the dish we recommend that you turn it into a pasta omelette!

And if, like us, you love this dish madly, we cannot fail to recommend our carbonara too : here are all the tricks to make it perfectly!


Riproduzione riservata © - WT

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