A good alternative to 2min noodles this fantastic and basic pasta dish is basically, divine, it is called CACIO E PEPE. You MUST make and eat this with wine – I am always about the red wine and would probably have this with a merlot but a nice white – perhaps a chianti or a medium bodied white – would also be nice. Now, it would completely change the dish but this could also be great with some ripped rocket leaves through it at the end – and why not even cook it with some cherry tomatoes – or stay traditional – it is nice either way.
ORIGINAL RECIPE FROM 2011
This is a VERY VERY basic pasta recipe that could be for the poor. It suits me in time of starvation and beats skinning the cat for a meal (he is not impressed). Translated it means Spaghetti in cheese and pepper and basically that is ALL you need.
It is a Roman Italian dish and can be cooked in two ways. As this is a simple dish with strong flavouring of only cheese and pepper I thoroughly recommend you either make your own pasta or buy some of the good stuff from a deli or gourmet food supplier. It is very cheap to make so make it with pristine ingredients and as well as the pasta – buy some bloody good cheese – traditionally this is made with pecorino, but it also works with parmesan or grana padana.
YOU WILL NEED:
Lots of pepper – I have a GIANT pepper mill so just used that
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup (or more – don’t be shy) of grated cheese (pecorino, parmesan or grana padana – or combos of the lot)
YOU WILL NEED TO:
OPTION 1: THE EASY WAY – I USED THE SLIGHTLY HARDER WAY
1) Cook the spaghetti in abundantly salted water (like enough so it tastes like you are drinking the ocean) following manufacturer’s instructions, tasting for readiness from time to time. Before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta boiling water.
2) Mix the grated cheese and a very generous quantity of black pepper freshly grated from the mill in a bowl. For my pepper mill I used 40 complete turns of the mill.
3) When the spaghetti is al dente (firm but not too soft or overcooked). drain the pasta into a colander, without shaking it too much, to keep the pasta moist.
Pour the pasta into a bowl, top with the cheese, and toss.
4) Add 1 or more tablespoon of the reserved cooking water. Toss thoroughly. Serve at once.
OPTION 2 – THE WAY I COOKED
1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it aggressively until it tastes like the ocean.
2) Drop in your spaghetti and allow it to return to the boil.
3) Five minutes into cooking your spaghetti, grind the pepper into a saucepan (I used 40 full rotations of the pepper-mill but could have gone for more) and start heating it on medium heat. It will become quite fragrant.
4) When the peppercorns have heated for a minute, carefully add a ladleful of pasta cooking water. Step back when you do this: breathing in a cloud of pepper steam may be reminiscent of being sprayed in the face by a cop wielding pepper-spray. Also, it’s going to make a loud sizzle, don’t fret.
5) Allow that to cook a bit and then add your butter. Stir it in.
6) Allow this to simmer – if it gets too dry put in some more pasta water.
7) Hopefully your pasta is al dente by now. Remove it from the water with tongs and drop in the pan with the pepper butter sauce.
8) Turn up the heat and stir in the pasta so it is all coated – if it gets too dry again add more pasta water.
9) When pasta is all coated remove from heat and pour on your cheese and stir it through
10) Serve in a big bowl with some more cheese grated on top and enjoy with a big glass of red wine