For most of my childhood, I was allergic to tomatoes. Tragic, I know. So when my entire family was mowing down plates of my mom’s spaghetti bolognese, I was left with a bowl of spaghetti, olive oil and Kraft parmesan cheese.
Honestly, I didn’t mind the flavour too much. Even at a young age, I appreciated the taste of fruity olive oil and, if I’m being completely honest, pretty much doused my pasta with cheese - the dehydrated Kraft version that comes in a cylindrical plastic container with a red lid. 10-year old gourmet! Was this perhaps the little kid version of cacio e pepe?! Maybe, just maybe.
Cacio e pepe is true Italian food at its finest. A handful of ingredients, a makeshift “sauce”, toothsome pasta, and full-on flavour. So simple yet so refined. The sheer simplicity of this dish is what really makes it. Be sure to use high quality ingredients in order to take this dish to the next level.
CACIO E PEPE - serves 1
1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmeggiano reggiano
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and rinse.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together. Grind the black pepper directly into the saucepan.
Add the drained spaghetti and pasta water and toss.
Slowly add in the cheese and add more pepper, salt and cheese to taste.