|Cheese and Pepper Pasta
(Cacio e Pepe)
Less is more in this elemental pasta dish, which takes on spiciness from cracked pepper toasted in oil.
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. pasta, preferably tonnarelli or spaghetti
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
3?4 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma
Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes; reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle 3/4 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly. Sprinkle 3/4 cup each Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary.
Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino and more pepper.
SERVES 4 Saveur Issue #128