“Cacio e pepe embraces fundamental aspects of Lazio cuisine – originality, territory and simplicity”– Chef Antonio Magliulo, La Posta Vecchia
One of Lazio’s best known dishes and pretty much everyone’s favourite for its perfect harmony of pecorino, pepper and pasta, cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) has long been loved for its hit-the-spot-everytime forkful and seemingly simplicity in making the dish, but as Antonio Magliulo, executive chef at La Posta Vecchia, describes, “the simplest recipes are [often] the most difficult”.
The key to a killer cacio e pepe is keeping an eye on quantities so when Magliulo suggests a ‘generous’ amount of pepper, he means it. And Magliulo is serious when he stresses sourcing a proper pecorino romano, a hard, salty cheese made with sheep’s milk from sheep raised and ranged across Lazio pastures.
Like Il Pellicano and Mezzatorre, La Posta Vecchia is oriented towards a “simple kitchen, which means a focus on top quality product with the least amount of intervention” – Magliulo and La Posta Vecchia are going to the source.
Last and most importantly, don’t throw out the water – the best kept secret to an amazing cacio e pepe is to slowly and sparingly add the cooked pasta water.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
480 grams (2 cups) Tonarelli pasta
300 grams (1.2 cups) Pecorino Romano DOP
Cook tonnarelli in lightly salted water for 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, grate pecorino cheese, add a generous amount of pepper and a small amout of cold water. Mix until a smooth cream is obtained.
Drain tonnarelli, making sure to keep a ladle of the cooked pasta water. Pour the pasta into the bowl and mix all together with a fork stir. When necessary, add small amounts of pasta water to achieve a sublime smoothness.
Garnish by grating (a little) pecorino and pepper on the pasta.