I like caccio e pepe very much and I like to cook it at home. I think good fast food. But the cheese often gets lumpy and the pepper gets stuck in the clumps of cheese and it gets a little weird and not as good as I want it to be. I’ve also tried getting more pasta water but it doesn’t help. Perhaps you have advice on how to avoid lumps.
Joanna Holst Balmburg
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Thank you for your incredibly good question, which gives me a great opportunity to take a history lesson.
Cacio e pepe is one of the oldest pasta dishes in Italian cuisine. Cacio e Pepe and various variants of what today is called carbonara, where there are eggs, cheese and some form of meat, were eaten with new spaghetti from the end of the 13th century.
Most people who think of spaghetti sauce often think of various tomato-based sauces, but then one forgets that tomatoes only came about in the mid-16th century, after Columbus discovered America in 1492, while spaghetti was eaten Much earlier and is usually attributed to the explorer Marco Polo who died in 1324 (although many claim that different types of pasta existed in the past. As you know, you can do a lot with flour and water).
Now to your question, although Cacio e pepe is one of the lightest spaghetti sauces with very few ingredients, the creamy texture is a challenge.
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Here is my recipe with some little tricks.
Cacio is slang for cheese and the cheese must have been Pecorino Romano, that is, a special hard sheep cheese from the region of Rome. It should not be stored for a long time.
To get the perfect peppery flavour, feel free to roast and grind whole peppercorns directly/mortar and sprinkle over the pasta.
I usually use spaghetti, but it’s also good with other types of pasta. Remember to balance cheese and boiling water!
I hope this helps you. good luck!
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400g good quality macaroni
250gm romanian pecorino
Freshly ground black pepper, preferably roasted
Water from boiling pasta, keep at least 4 dL when pouring
Feel free to do the following:
Put in a large saucepan with pasta water, salt a little less than usual, cheese is salty by itself.
Make use of some pasta water—the starch in the water means the proteins in the cheese don’t clump as much when melted.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, but less than 1 minute than stated.
Save 4 dL of boiling water, preferably from the water you pour at the end.
Like I said, this dough seems easy to make, but it does require a little fingertip feeling.
There are several ways.
The first method, flip the cooked pasta with just the right amount of pasta water and then the cheese into a skillet and stir until creamy and peppery when creamy. Taste with salt.
The second method, with this can not fail.
Grate the cheese and put it in the bottom of a bowl. Pour in slightly boiling water at a time about 2-3 dL, and beat with a balloon whisk until soft, and will clump with a hand mixer. Put the cooked pasta in a round-bottomed saucepan and stir in the cream cheese, adding a little water if it feels too dry. Grind a generous amount of black pepper. Turn the skillet over a low heat. Taste with salt.
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