As is true for most Italian foods, the ingredient list is short, but quality and technique are key; this real deal authentic cacio e pepe recipe is no exception. The trick (if there is one) is to us a small pot for the pasta (which concentrates the starches) and to use actual parmigiano reggiano cheese… not just Parmesan. In most applications, the American made Parm does just great, but in this recipe, the sauce becomes stringy. Follow this Cacio e Pepe recipe closely, because it will become a go-to for weeknights to come.
Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces parmigiano reggiano cheese finely grated (plus some for garnish)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- Prepare pasta according to pasta directions (cooked with 1-2 tablespoons of salt), minus 2 minutes; it should be very al dente when drained. Before draining, reserve 2/3 cup of the salted cooking water.
- As the pasta cooks, begin the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and pepper. Cook until the butter is melted and the pepper is very fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Pour butter into your largest bowl to slightly cool.
- Immediately after the pasta is drained, add the cheese to the large bowl. Work together until just combined (it will be chunky). While whisking, gently pour in 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. After a minute of whisking, a sauce should form. Add the pasta to the bowl and toss for an additional minute to coat the pasta and form the dish. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining water. If too thin, spike with bowl with some more cheese.
- Top with reserved cheese and a few grinds of black pepper and serve immediately.