Cacio e pepe, a staple of Roman cuisine. A recipe with very few ingredients, but easy to mess up. Make sure to have the cheese at room temperature and thinly grate it. Remove the pasta water when the pasta is almost completely cooked, then the water will be more starchy. Traditionally, all the ingredients are mixed at the same time, off the heat, but with this recipe it will be easier to achieve the right texture.
1 package garlic and black pepper shells or fettuccine
1.5 cups Pecorino Romano
1.5 cups Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon crushed black pepper + more to taste
3 cups pasta water
Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Reserve 3 cups of pasta water.
Toast black pepper in a pan.
In a bowl, add toasted black pepper and the grated cheese mixture. Stir in the pasta water little by little and whisk well, until a creamy sauce texture is achieved.
Add the pasta, mix well and serve, grinding extra black pepper and topping it with more cheese, if desired.