This month has been full of changes, bad days, great days, and and general stress. I’m starting some new projects, changing other projects, and I’m feeling generally burnt out in the kitchen. I tried to think of a more complicated new recipe for the blog, but my brain just kind of gave up. Then it struck me that the thing I make all the time when I’m by myself is one of my favorite recipes, takes less than twenty minutes, and only has five ingredients. Cacio e Pepe, or in English Cheese and Black Pepper. It’s the simplest recipe you could think of, but there is nothing better after a long day of shooting and editing than eating a bowl of hot cheesy pasta and watching Love Island.
I made the recipe below for four people, but you can certainly just quarter the recipe for one, which is what I tend to do when I’m running low on groceries and can’t be bothered to leave the house. I feel certain that Cacio e Pepe is the easiest recipe you will make this week and possibly the best. There are a couple things you definitely need to get right though to make this recipe the best it can be. First, make sure you freshly grate your parmigiano reggiano. Please no store bought imitation powdered cheeses! It simply isn’t cheese, and you’ll know it. Also, fresh ground pepper is a must! If you don’t have it, I can budge a little on this one, but it’s going to taste extra special with the good stuff.
To make this, bring a large pot of water to boil and set a timer. When the timer has four minutes left, add the butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the pepper and cheese, and a pinch of salt. Give it a stir and reserve a cup of pasta water from your boiling pasta. Add just half a cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir it. Drain your pasta in a colander and immediately put it into the cheese sauce pan. Stir it to coat and if the sauce is too thick, you can add a little more pasta water. Once it’s to your liking, serve immediately with extra grated parmigiano reggiano for topping. See the full recipe below.
- 1 lb pasta (any kind)
- 8 tbsp salted butter
- 1½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- kosher salt
- 2 cups grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling add your pasta and cook to al dente, according to package directions.
- When there are 4 minutes left on your pasta timer, add butter to a large deep saucepan or pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the pepper and a pinch of salt. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Add the parmigiano reggiano cheese to the butter and stir. Pour in half the pasta water, stirring until the cheese is melted and sauce smooths out. Turn the heat down to low.
- Drain your pasta and immediately pour it into the butter sauce with any remaining water that clings to it after its drained. Give it a stir and cook for just a minute. Remove from the heat. Serve in pasta bowls with extra ground pepper and parmigiano reggiano cheese for topping.