May 13, 2009
As you might have noticed, Roman recipes for pasta are extremely simple to make. Spaghetti cacio e pepe means spaghetti with cheese and black pepper, and with these two ingredients you can enjoy a delectable dish of pasta!
1 lb spaghetti
7-8 oz pecorino romano cheese, grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Pour the grated cheese into a bowl. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Just minutes before the pasta is ready, take a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water and add it to the cheese. Whisk until a creamy paste forms (use enough hot cooking water to achieve this). When the pasta is almost al dente (about 1 minute before the total cooking time), drain it and toss the spaghetti into a saucepan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and freshly ground black pepper (reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water). Quickly sauté the spaghetti. Add the creamy cheese mixture and stir for about 1 minute. You may need to add some more cooking water to keep the creamy texture of the sauce. Serve hot with a nice touch of grated pecorino cheese and black pepper.
If you know some Italian probably you’re more familiar with the word formaggio for cheese. Although formaggio is the most usual word, in Italian you can also say cacio for cheese and, in some dialects, the word cacio is more common. Actually, also in Latin there were two ways of saying cheese: cāseus and formāticus. While the original word for cheese was cāseus, molded cheese was called cāseus formātus, which gave origin to the abbreviation formāticus. Formāticus is the origin of the modern words formaggio in Italian, fromage in French and formatge in Catalan. Cāseus is the origin of the modern words cacio in Italian, queso in Spanish, queijo in Portuguese, Kaese in German, and even cheese in English!