Cacio e Pepe is about as simple as it gets, spaghetti with cheese, butter, and a borderline alarming amount of freshly ground black pepper. Yet somehow this is all you need for a truly awesome pasta experience.
Total Time:25 minutes
Yield:4 servings 1x
300grams dried spaghetti
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
80grams Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons butter
Put a large pot of water on to boil, then add salt and cook your spaghetti according to the package directions. I always check mine at a minute less than it says on the packet, just in case.
In the meantime, grind your peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. This will be hard work. Try to grind it finely. Pass your pepper through a mesh sieve, collecting the finely ground pepper in a bowl. I returned what was left in the sieve to grind again two times before finally discarding whatever was left behind.
You'll also want to grate your Parmesan cheese (or whatever hard Italian cheese you're using) as finely as possible. I used my microplane zester for this. Again, this is hard work, but totally worth it. Have the cheese and pepper ready to go by the time the pasta is cooked.
When the pasta is nearly ready, add the ground pepper and the buter to a skillet over low heat. Once your butter is melted and your pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer your pasta from the water directly into the skillet. Don't worry about draining the water off. You want some of that starchy pasta water to come along fo the ride. Toss the pasta in the peppery butter.
Turn the heat off and sprinkle over the cheese then walk away for one minute, allowing it to melt a bit. Toss everything together in the pan as gently as possible. Serve hot.