The typical Roman pasta dish is a simple cheese, black pepper and starch combination, and a hallmark of the Testaccio district, the housing project that developed around the now defunct abattoir, in the southern part of the city.
Pasta Cacio e Pepe is enjoying a moment of glory as the new "it" dish, everyone's crazy about the old cucina povera quick fix. Restaurants in Italy and overseas are sometimes charging eyebrow-raising sums for a plateful. But on a par with Aio e Oio, Cacio e Pepe has always been a reliable and expeditious solution in case of sloth, self-invited last minute guests, or for post fornication midnight munchies.
|Image © Daniela Delogu|
One of the best types of pasta to use for Cacio e Pepe is fresh tonarelli all'uovo, a thick and squared-section noodle made with eggs, flour and love.
That said, 400 gr (14 oz) of the largest size durum wheat spaghetti you can find will do just fine
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Lots of coarsely ground black pepper
E basta. (no olive oil, no butter, no cream)
Cook the pasta al dente in 1 gallon of lightly salted boiling water. Remember, fresh pasta cooks much quicker than the dried kind.
Loosly drain, saving some starchy cooking water.
Toss the cooked pasta back into the empty pan over very gentle heat, folding in the grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and adding some of the saved cooking water to blend. Creaminess ensues.
Don't skimp on the pepper, lash away–the condiment should be quite spicy.
Uncork the red wine and quietly devour at tongue-burning temperature.
(Diet can resume tomorrow)