Spaghetti cacio e pepe is a traditional dish, a preparation born using few local ingredients.
It is a poor, popular meal whose history dates back to the days of transhumance, an ancient custom of transporting grazing animals from the rolling plains to the verdant pastures of the Roman countryside.
Shepherds and farmers, during these journeys, used to stock up on poor and not easily perishable ingredients that were easy to transport and still tasty.
And what are the typical products from Lazio that correspond to these characteristics?
Black peppercorns, a spice that stimulates heat receptors allowing shepherds to protect themselves from the cold, Roman pecorino cheese, also known as cacio, and dried spaghetti, great for filling hungry bellies after a long day of walking.
Because of their goodness and speed of execution, spaghetti cacio e pepe soon became a widespread dish throughout Italy but, as is often the case with dishes that cross regional borders, with many variations.
- 11 ounces of spaghetti
- 1+ 3/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper (black peppercorns to be freshly ground)
- Salt to taste
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, toast the black pepper for about a minute, being careful not to burn it.
3. Add a ladle of pasta cooking water to the skillet with the toasted pepper and mix well.
4. Drain the spaghetti and transfer it to the skillet with the water and pepper. Mix well to combine the flavors.
5. Add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese and mix vigorously until you get a smooth, creamy sauce. If needed, add a little more pasta cooking water to make the sauce more fluid.
6. Serve the cacio e pepe spaghetti hot, garnished with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and a dusting of Pecorino Romano cheese.
There you go! Now you can enjoy authentic spaghetti cacio e pepe just like you would find in Rome. Enjoy your meal!
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