Cacio e Pepe - cheese and pepper - Italian Pasta Recipe

Cacio e Pepe....yum yum yum and yum! I heard about this pasta dish a few months before my last trip to Rome. I knew I had to try it because of my great love for Pecorino cheese, and as the main ingredient I knew I couldn't go wrong.  Pasta, pecorino, pepper, olive oil and that's it? Are you sure? How could only a few simple ingredients make something so creamy and delicious? I don't know, but I'm not surprised it's Italian. They seem to do this kind of thing all the time. This simple seeming pasta can be a bit trickier to make then one might think but it is well worth it

I chose La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali to try Cacio e Pepe for the first time. I came across them when searching for "can't miss" restaurants in Rome. They were close to where we were staying(Colosseum area) and they had gluten free pasta(it was delicious) for my husband. The first night we went the restaurant was full(completo), something we came across a lot this last trip to Italy so if you plan to go to this restaurant or any other that has a good reputation.....make a reservation! We made ours for lunch the next day. It was worth the wait. The restaurant was small with a lovely ambiance, a few English speakers, and a lot of Italian speakers. Everyone was friendly and helpful and their Cacio e Pepe was AMAZING! Creamy and spicey and everything I'd hoped for! Want to try this exact dish? Here's the restaurant in Rome where we ate.  La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Roma, Italy(more info below). It is one of many that serve this roman dish. Want to make it? Here's the recipe

Cacio e Pepe

Salt to taste for the pasta

1 lb. dried spaghetti, bucatini or tonnarelli pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

4 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, very finely grated(about 2 cups)

1. In a large pot bring a large amount of water to boiling; season with salt. Add pasta; cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Remove skillet from heat. Add 3/4 cup pasta water. Return to heat; bring to boiling. The starchy water and oil will come together to form a glossy sauce.

3. Add drained pasta to pan; toss to coat(this part is important). Sprinkle in all but a handful of cheese. Using tongs, vigorously toss pasta, adding cooking liquid as needed to create a creamy sauce that clings to the pasta without clumping. Salt to taste. Top with remaining cheese and additional ground black pepper. Serve Immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Buon Appetito and remember to enjoy this with some amazing wine!

La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Roma, TEL: 06.679.86.43 Their website is both in Italian and English. Reservations are recommended.