Pepper in the beginning and in the end! That’s the spirit of this amazing, classic and delicious dish from Italy called Pasta Cacio E Pepe. As mentioned in the video (watch it on You Tube), saving some of the pasta water is the real secret to this recipe. Yes! That cloudy water, that everyone throws away! Now you know! Keep it. Save it. that water is full of flavor! You might not seed to save the whole thing, but save at least 2 cups. As you add the water to the pan, and it mixes with the peppery butter, it creates a starchy, creamy sauce that transform this dish from ordinary to extraordinary!
Pasta Cacio e Pepe
6 oz long noodle pasta (such as bucatini, spaghetti, tagliolini or Fusilli lunghi—as used in this recipe)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Season with salt. Add pasta and cook stirring occasionally, until just al dente (take one minute off from package instructions). Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling the pan, until the black pepper starts to release it aromas, about 1 minute.
Add about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and remaining butter. Reduce. Heat to low and add the cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs, until all melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add more cheese, stirring and tossing, until the cheese melts, and the noodles are covered by a creamy, beautiful sauce. Feel free to add more pasta water if the sauce seems a little dry. Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve immediately. I like to sprinkle even more cheese and more pepper at the end. Never enough!
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