If you aren’t already familiar with Cacio e Pepe, it’s time to try this minimal but comforting dish! Consider it more like a sophisticated version of mac’n’cheese, made simply with butter, cracked pepper, and a mix of salty parmesan and pecorino cheeses. I’ve livened the dish up a little with the addition of some rocket and tomatoes, but keeping to the unmodified version is just as good. This recipe is flavourful and satisfying but, most importantly, so easy to make. Enjoy!
PREP TIME: 5 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
SERVES: 2 PEOPLE
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
3/4 cup finely-grated parmesan or GranaPadano
1/3 cup finely-grated pecorino
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 good handful rocket
1. Cook the pasta according to the packet, but drain about 2 mins before it’s cooked properly. Reserve about three-quarters of a cup of the pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, chop half the tomatoes in half, and leave the rest whole. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat.
3. Place the halved tomatoes with the chopped side down into the pan, and tip in the rest. Saute until just starting to blister and getting a little colour. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the other 2 tablespoons of butter into the pan. Add in the pepper and cook for about a minute then pour in half a cup of the pasta water.
5. Add the pasta back in and reduce to a low heat before adding parmesan. Gently stir and toss with tongs until melted.
6. Remove from the heat and add in the pecorino, again tossing until all the cheese is melted.
7. If you feel the pasta looks a little dry, add in a little more of the pasta liquid and combine.
8. Stir through the rocket until wilted, then add in the tomatoes and very gently combine, trying not to split the tomatoes too much.
9. Divide evenly across two bowls. You can garnish with a little more pepper and parmesan if you choose.