Monday, January 25, 2010

CACIO E PEPE - Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper

I first learn about this classic Roman dish from my Posto Pubblico experience. I had no idea what it was and it turns out to be a simple yet classic dish involving only 3 ingredients!!! Thanks to Jodi and her collection of recipes from Gourmet Magazine, I am lucky enough to get hold of the recipe (photocopied) from Gourmet - March 2003 print edition, YES March 2003!! It is not a typo, it was the 2003 print edition, page 164 if you have know. Thanks Jodi!!! This recipe of mine is therefore based on the one from Gourmet.

The key ingredients of Cacio e Pepe is the Pecorino Romano cheese. If you are unable to find this cheese, perhaps Parmigiano-Reggiano would do the trick as well.

Recipe (single serving)
  • 1 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/4 lb spaghetti (or more if you are hungry)
  • finely grated Percorino Romano (as much as you want, like butter, never too much!)
Step 1 - cook spaghetti in a pot of boiling water salted water. Let it boil for a bit and work on other things.

Step 2 - toast the peppercorns (coarsely grind would be fine) in a dry skillet. Set aside when you start to smell the peppercorns fragrant.

Step 3 - Grate the cheese finely to your liking. Set aside. (please control yourself from eating all the cheese at this stage)

Step 4 - fill a large bowl with hot water to warm to bowl.

Step 5 - test spaghetti. al dente??

Step 5 - Just before the spaghetti is ready, drain the bowl but do not dry it. (Note: When draining the spaghetti, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water). Now drain the spaghetti in a colander and put into the warmed bowl.

Step 6 - Sprinkle most of the cheese onto spaghetti

Step 7 - Add 1 tablespoons of pasta cooking water evenly and toss. Add more pasta cooking water if too dry. [Note: why pasta cooking water? It is because the pasta water is seasoned with salt and contained a bit of starch from the pasta cooking process. By mixing it with the cheese, it would thicken the slightly melted cheese and turn into a very light sauce for final serving.]

Step 8 - Serve and sprinkle rest of the cheese and the toasted peppercorns on top. Enjoy! :)

3 tweets version of recipes:
Boil pasta, toast 1 tbsp coarsely grind peppercorns, grate Pecorino Romano cheese and warm bowl with hot H2O. Drain bowl, drain pasta (reserve some pasta cooking H2O), toss pasta in warm bowl with cheese and 1 tbsp of cooking H2O (more if too dry). Serve and top with cheese and peppercorns. [291 characters]


cheeky angel said...

Mmmmm...comfort food...

So happy to see that you're still wearing your chef's hat :-)


I'll rather pay you $120 for this, knowing its made with heart and intelligence. : P So was it better than the one at Posto Pubblico! haha! ^o^'

Jason said...

@cheeky angel: yeah, I am aiming to start with simple dishes first and move my way up one step at a time :)

Jason said...

@Babedolphin: I think it was HKD130 or something at Posto Pubblico HAHA .. but sure, HKD 120 will do for mine :)

If you really need to know, YES! it is better thanks to the chef and the recipe from Jodi! :)

TasteHongKong said...

Seems that you have got a secret recipe, I mean the way you warm your bowl.


Well definitely its a Chef difference - even your plating looks way better than that place! : D

S.Cheung said...

the deco on the plate looks elegant! :P

Jason said...

@TasteHongKong: Thanks! it is always the minor steps that make the world of difference, ie: the reuse of the pasta cooking water as well. I am having fun learning all these seemingly minor but very important cooking tips :)

@Babedolphin: thanks for your kind words! :)

@BelleS: Thanks

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