Cacio e Pepe : Cheese and Pepper Pasta

I spent the whole afternoon at home yesterday to be with the kids and lazy Friday afternoons (which are rare) only mean one thing : A great home-cooked dinner! I simply had no excuse not to cook at least a two-course meal. Since it was the first Friday of Lent, I wanted to observe abstinence and decided to do a Peas and Watercress soup,  Panfried Halibut and some Cacio e Pepe.

 If one pasta dish exemplifies the complexity of pan sauce precision, it's THIS. Cacio e Pepe (literally, cheese and pepper) is a minimalist recipe which calls for only a few ingredients and doesn't even include garlic. Sharing with you the recipe I used;

Kosher salt
6 ounces pasta of choice (in my case, spaghettini)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano 
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino


1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5 quart pot.

2. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.

3. Meanwhile, melt  butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

4. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer.

5. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add the cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted.

6. Remove pan from heat; add both cheeses, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)

7. Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

So simple yet so good....

Voila! Our Friday Dinner of Pan-friend Halibut with my lemon-shallot-capers sauce, Watercress siding and my Cacio e Pepe :) 

This pasta dish is always a sure winner so go ahead, try it this weekend!



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