Cacio y pepe
September 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
Cacio y pepe
Cacio y pepe is a comfort meal, but also a happy meal, a lazy meal, a girlfriend meal, or a meal for one. It is so simple- success is based on both method and quality of ingredients.
Wendy (who really needs no introduction if you’ve met her once) has a weak spot for anything involving carbs and cheese. I love her for it. She told me about this dish she ate almost every night when she was in Italy and we endeavored to re-create it together.
A few notes- do as I say and not as I do and get everything prepared before you start cooking the pasta. Find the right cheese- try a cheese shop, the deli on Granville Island, Whole Foods, or a decent grocery store. Measure the ingredients the first few times to get a feel for what the ratios should be. And be careful if you’re planning on saving some for leftovers- it’s impossible to resist and really much better fresh.
6 ounces pasta (I use spaghetti)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (good quality pepper actually makes a difference)
3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Season it with salt – it should be a bit saltier than the ocean (I’ve always wondered exactly how salty it’s supposed to be). Take out a large mug and place near the pot so you don’t forget to reserve the pasta water.
Grate the Granda Padano and the Pecorino into separate bowls.
Add pasta to the water and cook until two minutes before tender. Reserve about a cup of water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy pan over medium heat. Add pepper and cook about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to your heavy pan and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, gently stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove the pan from heat and add Pecorino, again stirring and tossing until cheese melts, the sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.