Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cacio e Pepe (sort of)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (May 2007)

I guess there is some debate as to whether CI should have called this recipe "Cacio e Pepe", since it is really not authentic. Actually, they named it: Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio e Pepe). I have no clue about that - I'd never heard of this dish before. I guess the cream makes it not really true, or something.

Anyway, this is very, very simple. And it tastes delicious. The nice thing is that it actually isn't a heavy sauce, which is surprising since I just mentioned cream, and then there is the cheese. However, there is only one ounce of cheese per serving, and only 2T of cream for the entire dish, so this is much lighter than a creamy sauce you might think of. The ingredients are mixed with pasta water, so the sauce is actually not heavy at all.

The only problem I had was that my cheese did get clumpy, which their technique is supposed to prevent. It may be that I didn't grate properly - I used my rasp-type grater (seen above), instead of the bumpy side of a box grater.

I think I will worry less about that next time, and just throw all the ingredients on the pasta next time, and not worry if I get a perfect sauce.

It is funny that shortly after trying this, I saw this at Smitten Kitchen: Cacio e Pepe/ This recipe is similar but uses more oil, so probably a little richer. I might combine the two techniques next time.

I'll definitely make again for a very quick and tasty pasta dish -- as an alternative to tomato based sauces.

Oh I should mention the 2nd time I made it, I used wheat-blend pasta and it was very goood.

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