Those of you who think all pasta sauces are long-simmered affairs will be relieved to discover that this incredibly simple dish of cacio e pepe requires only four ingredients and a few minutes of your time. This pasta, with its sting of cheese and bite of pepper, proves that simple is by no means boring.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 20 mins
- Active: 20 mins
- 2 pounds dried spaghetti
- 3 1/2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated on the small holes of a box grater (about 8 ounces)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot (at least 12 quarts) of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.
- Return pasta and cooking water to the pot and place over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese and butter have melted and formed a creamy sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, and serve with additional cheese if desired.
Beverage pairing: Iron Horse Vineyards Rosato di Sangiovese, California. A white wine might be the first thing that comes to mind for a dish flavored with spice and cheese, but the bright red berry fruit in this rosé makes a nice contrast with all the black pepper, and the wine has plenty of vibrancy to stand up to the cheese.