Being a big fan of Anthony Bourdain, (although I would never eat a fraction of the things he’s willing to stuff down his gullet) and Italy, I was very happy to recently watch a show that put him in Rome, Italy. While there he expounded on the virtues of a dish called Cacio e Pepe, which is bascially cheese and pepper. Sounded good to me so I set about learning how to make this dish, as it turns out my cat could probably put this together it’s that easy.
Cacio e Pepe for 2
Approx. 1 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, more if you need it.
(use only the best ingredients throughout this dish as there are so few and all are equally important)
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
a long pasta, enough for 2 people (I used fettucini today, but spaghetti, or linguini, etc. will work too.)
1/2 cup of the pasta water or more if needed
In a small skillet on med. heat sprinkle about 1/3 cup or more of grated parmesan cheese in a thin layer. Try to make it as close to a circle shape as you can, let the cheese melt and get a little golden and then carefully lift out of pan with a spatula and place on top of an over turned small bowl or glass and press down the sides carefully to form a bowl shape with the cheese. Do this quickly before the cheese cools or your bowl will break. Repeat for second serving. When cool, remove from bowl or glass moulds, turn right side up and put aside away from heat.
Cook pasta to al dente stage, meanwhile heat butter over med. heat in same skillet you melted the cheese , add fresh ground pepper, when the pasta is cooked, add it to the skillet along with remaining parmesan and pecorino cheese, stir, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, stirring until you get a creamy consistancy, add more pasta water if you need. Place pasta in parmesan “bowls” and top with a little more parmesan. Savour and make yummy noises.