Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe
Serves 4-6

Cacio e pepe, meaning cheese and pepper, is a cult classic and my favorite comfort food. Like all Italian dishes, simplicity and technique is the core foundation of a perfect cacio e pepe. Toast the pepper until fragrant and dry over low heat and then use a combination of Parmesan and pecorino for a Rome-worthy, swoon-worthy dish.

1 lb. dried pasta; I like bucatini or meze rigatoni for this
Few glugs of extra virgin olive oil, then a few more
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup reserved pasta water
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated pecorino cheese
Salt, to taste

Cook pasta until al dente and set aside with reserved pasta water.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir and toast pepper for a few minutes to dry out.

Add pasta and top with cheese. Then pour reserved cooking water over cheese to slightly melt it. Begin to toss with tongs or two spoons until cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy. Season with salt as needed and serve to with red wine. It tastes better that way.