Experience the simple yet delicious flavours of Rome with spaghetti cacio e pepe! Made with just three ingredients, this classic pasta dish is a quick and easy way to transport your taste buds to Italy.
About this Recipe
By: Silvana Lanzetta
Spaghetti cacio e pepe has become one of the most beloved dishes internationally in the past few years, which surprised me at first. During my cooking classes, more and more people have been asking me for the recipe, particularly because they have trouble achieving the creamy texture of the sauce. I totally get it – it can seem a little intimidating. But let me tell you, the secret to nailing that perfectly smooth cacio e pepe sauce is all in taking your time and adding the starchy water little by little.
I have to admit though, I don’t make this sauce as often as I would like to. Why, you ask? Well, my younger child is not a fan of the strong flavour. I don’t want to force him to eat it during dinner and then end up throwing it away, since cacio e pepe doesn’t store well at all. So, I reserve it as an occasional treat for myself when he’s away for a playdate or spending time with his dad.
Recommended Pasta Shapes
Spaghetti cacio e pepe is a traditional first course that’s deeply rooted in the Roman tradition, and it’s become an integral part of not just the city’s cuisine, but the entire nation’s as well.
Describing this dish can be quite a task, almost like finding the right words to describe the Colosseum. But every forkful of this amazing dish, manages to convey all the genuineness of its origins, leading to a food and wine experience that’s simply out of this world.
While it may look simple on the surface, creating the perfect cacio e pepe sauce can be quite complex. It’s all about achieving the right balance of creaminess and not drying out the pasta, while amalgamating the components with taste and lightness.
A brief history of spaghetti cacio e pepe
Did you know that this dish has its roots in the most genuine traditions, such as transhumance? Roman shepherds needed a hearty and delicious meal that could be easily prepared while on the go. They combined simple ingredients like pecorino cheese and black pepper to make a pasta dish that was both delicious and practical.
If you’re a lover of classic recipes, I’ve got the true original recipe below, so you can bring a mouth-watering and state-of-the-art dish to your table!
Whether you prefer it with spaghetti, bucatini, or mezze maniche, cacio e pepe is a dish that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. So why not try making it yourself? It’s a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time. However, it’s important to remember that because of the few ingredients used in this recipe, their quality must be top-notch.
While spaghetti cacio e pepe is a delicious and popular dish, it is also high in calories, fat, and sodium. As with all foods, it’s important to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
- Proteins 23% 23%
- Carbs 25% 25%
- Fats 39% 39%
Have you ever wondered why pecorino romano is the only cheese that can make a perfect cacio e pepe? Well, it’s not just a coincidence! This particular cheese has some unique features that make it perfect for this recipe.
When heated, pecorino romano turns into a creamy and smooth texture, especially when mixed with hot water. Be careful though: the more aged the pecorino, the more you risk forming lumps, so it’s important to use one that is aged no more than 5 months.
To achieve the perfect creamy texture, the ratio of water to pecorino should be one-to-one. For instance, you can heat 30 grams of pecorino romano with 30 grams of water to obtain the perfect cream.
If you want to make the most out of your spaghetti cacio e pepe. The secret to achieving the best flavour is to use whole black peppercorns and grind them up just before cooking. Trust me, it makes all the difference!
By grinding the peppercorns yourself, you’ll get a much more intense and aromatic flavour that will take your cacio e pepe to the next level. Plus, it’s super easy to do! All you need is a good quality peppermill or mortar and pestle.
When it comes to cacio e pepe, the traditional pasta shapes are spaghetti and tonnarelli (with eggs) or spaghetti alla chitarra (egg-free). Bucatini is also a popular choice, and sometimes people opt for mezze maniche, which is a shorter version of rigatoni. But no matter which pasta you decide to use, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your pasta has a rough texture, so the sauce can adhere to it properly.
- Don’t forget to use good quality pasta that is a) high in protein and b) slow dried. Read carefully the packaging to find out all the information you need.
To achieve the perfect creamy cacio e pepe sauce, you gotta use the starchy pasta water. Don’t just settle for plain boiled water – that won’t do the trick.
Trust me on this – the starchy water from cooking your pasta is like liquid gold for making the creamiest, smoothest sauce ever. The starches in the water mix with the cheese and create the perfect consistency that’ll make your dish truly unforgettable.