“Cheese and pepper” pasta. It sounds so much better in Italian but it’s delicious either way. This meal is not for those on low-fat diets or anyone counting calories. It’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s… cheesy. Maybe this can be something you make when you want to “splurge.”

Bon Appetit’s May issue is dedicated to Italian food and I was inspired to make their Cacio e Pepe which was one of the featured recipes. I’ve had it before, in restaurants, but never really thought about making it myself for some reason. It isn’t the most difficult thing to make but you need to balance moisture, cheese and temperature to get it right. Mine didn’t turn out as shiny as a professional chef would make it but I wanted mine to be more on the cheesy side and I didn’t add as much of the pasta water you’ll need to get the right sauciness. It was still yummy!

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.
 
Did you know?…
You should not add oil to the water when you cook pasta. All that will do is make your pasta slippery and then the sauce won’t stick. You’ll end up eating pretty plain pasta and have a lot of sauce left in your plate. No good.
 
 
Nutritional Information

One serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 640.9
%Calories from Fat 41.5
Fat (g) 29.5
Saturated Fat (g) 17.0
Cholesterol (mg) 71.8
Carbohydrates (g) 64.9
Dietary Fiber (g) 4.0
Total Sugars (g) 1.3
Net Carbs (g) 60.9
Protein (g) 26.9
Sodium (mg) 560.6

~Christina

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