Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe alla Roma Sparita

(From Food Lover's Odyssey)

(Serves 2 people)


Half pound spaghetti

About 6 cups well-salted boiling water


For the “sauce”:

About 1 1/2 cups (2 large ladles) boiling pasta water

1 tablespoon freshly, coarsely grated pepper, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons butter

1 3/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

For the Parmesan bowl:

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Regiano cheese

 


To make the Parmesan bowl, spread a very thin layer of the cheese onto a slightly warmed non-stick pan in the form of a circle, about six inches in diameter. (The cheese should slowly start to melt when you place it into the pan.) Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Using a spatula, slide the cheese circle out of the pan and onto a turned over bowl. (To create a pretty bowl like that at Roma Sparita, it’s best to use a mold/bowl that’s not higher than 2 inches, letting the excess fan out with creases at the edges.) Use tongs to press the cheese, only while it’s hot, down or out, as you like. Cool while you make the pasta.


Cook the pasta according to the directions for that brand. When the pasta is not quite cooked, about 3 minutes before you would normally take it out of the water, add the boiling pasta water, the butter and the pepper to a hot saute pan. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss through the water mixture until the pasta absorbs almost all of the water. Remove from the heat, and add the grated cheese to the pasta. Quickly stir the cheese into the pasta. Place into the Parmesan cup and garnish with more grated cheese and freshly grated pepper, to taste.