Last fall, I finally was able to enjoy my postponed trip to Italy. As a fairly picky eater, I was overjoyed to find that authentic Italian meals were not as complicated as Olive Garden may have made them seem. It is obvious to note that, in earlier cultures, ingredients weren't as easy to obtain as a trip to your local Wal-Mart of Fry's. Families were still able to make delicious meals for their families and maybe the secret is in the simplicity. One of the most popular dishes in Rome is Cacio E Pepe. This literally translates to "cheese and pepper", but that it really all it needs to be a satisfying entre!
- 6 oz. tagliolini or bucatini pasta
- 3 Tbsp butter, cubed, divided
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
- 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven or other large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
3. Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.