Saturday, 19 March 2016

Cacio e Pepe

I like white plates as they just match everything.  With dark colored plates, especially in the evening when the lighting isn't good, and the food is of a warmer color - I mean I'm very unhappy with this photo, my photoshop skills aren't good enough for this.  I shouldn't complain, these are my boyfriend's plates, he kindly lets me cook in his kitchen whenever I want, so I shouldn't complain over his plate choices.  I know.  Okay, so despite the photo, I still wanted to share with you one of my favorite pastas - cacio e pepe.

So, as with all simple dishes - make sure the few ingredients you get are of good quality.  Get a good aged pecorino. The thing is, as simple as it sounds, it can bit a bit tricky to get this sauce right.  It's all about love and patience with this dish.
You want a creamy sauce that just coats the pasta - ideally with long pasta like spaghetti but I just used what I had. And you want to add the cheese to the pasta a bit at a time, stirring continuously to have the residual heat of the pasta melt the cheese.

There are different ways of doing it - a lot of recipes make a paste with the cheese and water beforehand and mixing it with the pasta.  Personally, this comes out better - perhaps more labor intensive, but it's worth it.

Serves 2
200g pasta
80g pecorino cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper, freshly ground

Bring a pot of water to the boil, salt it and cook pasta until al dente - you want it slightly more al dente than you'd normally like it because you're going to cook it a bit more afterwards.

Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Return the pasta to the pot, off the heat, now add a bit of cheese, about 1 tbsp of the liquid and stir.  And continue this process - you don't want to add all the cheese at once, you want to add it gradually and let it melt and form a creamy sauce with the pasta.  You definitely won't need all that liquid, so do stint on it.  At the end, add pepper to taste, a drizzle of olive oil and you're done.

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