CACIO E PEPE
Spaghetti, Pecorino Romano and black pepper
1 lb. Imported spaghetti
2 T Extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated and firmly packed
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated and firmly packed
1 T Freshly ground black pepper
(Peppercorn must be dry-roasted in pan, then placed in a pepper mill
2 T Butter
13 oz. Reserved pasta water
- Place a large stainless steel pot on medium-high heat filled with water; bring to a boil and season highly with salt (when cooking the pasta, I recommend a minimum of a gallon of water, and the water should be highly seasoned almost to taste like that of the sea). Add the pasta to the boiling, salted water; cook the pasta to just under al dente according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile in a stainless steel pot, on medium-high heat, place 4 ounces of pasta water from the cooking pasta. Bring the water to a boil. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter, cooking for approximately 30 seconds until slightly thickened. Continue to whisk in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and then add half the amount of the black pepper to the butter mixture. Shut off the heat and reserve.
- In a separate stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the cheese and the remainder of black pepper. Again remove 9 ounces of pasta water from the cooking pasta. Whisk in the 9 ounces of pasta water until you create a thick cheese paste. Reserve.
- When the pasta is cooked but still under al dente by a minute or so, strain the pasta into a colander with a bowl so you can reserve additional pasta water, but don’t allow the colander to sit in the water.
- Place the pasta into the pot containing the reserved butter and pepper mixture. Return the pot to a medium heat and coat pasta well with the butter and black pepper mixture, and cook for approximately 30 seconds. Add the cheese mixture to the pasta and continue stirring using long tongs to mix the pasta until the cheese mixture coats the pasta and the sauce is slightly thickened, cooking for approximately 30 seconds. (If the sauce is too thick you can add the reserved pasta liquid one ounce at a time to correct the consistently. The pasta should be lightly coated with the cheese and black pepper mixture.)
- Divide the pasta between 4-6 bowls, then garnish with ground black pepper and a light grating of Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve immediately.
--Chef Partner Jim Botsacos and Chef de Cuisine Jake Addeo of Abboccato
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