Cacio e pepe, or pasta with Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh black pepper, proves that simple is often best.
Prep Time:5 Minutes
Cook Time:20 Minutes
Total Time:25 Minutes
8 ozbucatini or spaghetti
2 tablespoonsunsalted butter
1½ - 2 teaspoonsfreshly ground black pepper, depending on how peppery you like your pasta
1 cupfinely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
In a Dutch oven or large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain.
Set the same pot over low heat and melt the butter. Add the pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the drained pasta to the pot and toss to coat evenly. Remove the pot from the heat.
In a blender, combine the cheese and ⅔ cup of the pasta cooking water. Blend until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the sauce to the pasta in the pot and toss with tongs. Place the pot back over low heat and cook, stirring constantly with the tongs, until the sauce is the consistency of a thin cream sauce, a few minutes. Add more of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce only if necessary. Be careful at this stage: if the sauce gets too hot, it will start to clump up and stick to the pot and tongs. Once the sauce is the right consistency, immediately transfer the pasta to bowls and serve. Pass more cheese and pepper at the table, if desired.