This typical Roman pasta dish is a simple cheese, black pepper and starch combination, and a hallmark of the Testaccio district, the early 1900s 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 popularity, 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 © senzapanna
That said, 400 g (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 until al dente in 1 gallon of lightly salted water. Remember, fresh pasta cooks much quicker than the dried kind.
In the meantime grate Pecorino cheese and grind the pepper.
Loosely drain the pasta, saving more starchy cooking water.
Toss the cooked pasta into a large warmed bowl, adding handfuls of cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and adding more of the saved cooking water to blend. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until 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)