The Spamwise Chronicles

Pappardelle con Cacio e Pepe

I love minimalist dishes, especially those that feature only a handful of ingredients. “Less is more”, as the saying goes; the idea is that if your ingredients are top-notch, they’re all you really need.

I think that all too often, we add so much ‘stuff’ to whatever it is we’re making that we’ve lost our sense of taste. This is especially true of ‘cacio e pepe’ (or “cheese and pepper”), a typical Roman pasta dish that’s usually made with spaghetti or bucatini (or if you really want to get authentic, with tonnarelli). The version presented here is a variation on the original, because pappardelle from Eataly was what I had on hand.

If you google recipes for cacio e pepe, you’ll see quite a few that introduce elements that, in my opinion, don’t belong. The first one that comes up for me is this recipe by Bon AppĂ©tit, which has in addition to pecorino romano cheese and black pepper, grana padano or parmesan cheese and butter. The addition of butter transforms it from ‘cacio e pepe’ to ‘burro e cacio’.

The second recipe that comes up for me is this one, from Saveur. This one has olive oil instead of butter.

For something like cacio e pepe, the combination of the heat from the pasta, combined with the cheese forms a “creamy” sauce that renders the addition of things like butter or cream unnecessary.

Pappardelle con cacio e pepe ("pappardelle with cheese and pepper")

Pappardelle con Cacio e Pepe

1/2 lb. pappardelle
Sea salt
Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
Freshly milled black pepper

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. “Lightly salted” means enough salt so that the water tastes a little salty. Go easy on it though, because pecorino romano cheese is salty by itself. Add the pappardelle. Cook for 2-3 minutes; since pappardelle is a fresh pasta, you won’t need to cook it for longer than that, as opposed to a dried pasta like spaghetti. Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta cooking water.

Place the pappardelle in a large bowl. Add a generous helping of pecorino romano cheese, followed by a generous grind of freshly milled black pepper. I’ll leave the exact quantities up to you. Toss gently. If the pasta seems dry, add a little pasta cooking water, tablespoon by tablespoon until a light, “creamy” sauce is formed.

Divide amongst 2 serving plates or shallow pasta bowls, then serve immediately.

Time: About 20 minutes.

This recipe is sized for 2 people.


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This entry was published on September 16, 2013 at 9:24 am. It’s filed under cooking, food, food photography, Italian food, recipe, vegetarian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Pappardelle con Cacio e Pepe

  1. Jueseppi B. on said:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.


  2. Absolutely divine. I could eat that beatiful bowl of pasta right now, it looks so tempting.the simplest recipes really are the best.


  3. there is nothing so lovely as simple ingredients – but excellent quality put together. I can’t think of anything better than wonderful pasta, good pepper and oil.


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