Thanks to Go Providence, Chef Cristiano Labia from Pane e Vino is in the Rhode Show kitchen making Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe!
1 pound spaghetti
2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano from Rome aged for at least 10/12 months (Remo Brunelli or Sini Fulvi)
*The original production area of Pecorino Romano is Lazio, the section of Italy that surrounds Rome. The term “Genuino” can only be applied to Romano that is made in Lazio. This special Romano, made from milk taken from a dedicated herd of sheep that live just outside the city of Rome, has a grainy, crumbly texture that is much more flavorful than inferior varieties
2 to 2.1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper or more for added flavor
*Tellicherry Black Peppercorns from Malabar (India) where whole black peppercorns are left on the vine longer so they develop a deep, rich flavor
Bring a large pot of water to a boiling point over high heat. Lightly salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until al dente: stirring spaghetti occasionally with a fork or wooden spoon will prevent sticking.
Heat black pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until pepper is barely starting to sizzle, about 2/3 minutes. Set aside and let cool off and then transfer to a large bowl and add the pecorinno romano.
Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta cooking water to the bowl with the pepper and pecorino and start mixing until creating a thick paste. Using tongs, lift spaghetti and transfer it to the mixture. Toss vigorously to coat the pasta, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water in case spaghetti are too dry or too wet.
Plate and dust each dish with additional pecorino and pepper. Serve immediately.
Using toasted and fresh black pepper doubles up on flavor, giving the dish more complexity.
Grating the cheese very finely instead of shredding allows smoother incorporation.
Finishing the pasta and cheese in a separate bowl ensures that the cheese doesn’t clump up from the residual heat in the pasta pan.
Cooking the pasta in a skillet instead of a pot helps concentrate the starch in the water, making the sauce smoother.