We’ve all been there. The Annie’s 2 for $5 “family size” Mac and Cheese boxes are substantiating, but they can only go so far. Cooking With Bwog is here to encourage you to trade in your Aged White Cheddar for a tour of Italy via the cheese aisle at West Side Market. The classic Cacio e Pepe (i.e. salt and pepper pasta) might just be the easiest, most delicious Italian recipe of all time — and with just 4 ingredients (two of those being salt and pepper), your wallet will thank you. For the sake of balance, we made this cheesy mess with a side of lemon roasted broccoli. Alternatively, you could serve this over a bed of fresh spinach or arugula.
Cacio e Pepe, Adapted from Bon Appetit and Tales of Ambrosia
6 oz. pasta (spaghetti, tonnarelli, or other similar long rounded pasta works — anything that can be twirled. Angel hair tends to be a bit too thin.)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (Grana Padano or Parmesan can be substituted in a pinch!)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Bring amply salted water to a boil in a tall pot.
Add pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, grate Pecorino Romano cheese.
1-2 minutes before pasta is cooked, place a serving bowl on top of the pot until warm.
Reserve some pasta water (about a cup),* before draining the pasta and transferring it to the heated serving bowl.
Gradually add grated cheese and water to the pasta, tossing vigorously until you achieve a creamy consistency.
If the sauce becomes too watery, add cheese; if it becomes too dry, add water. Ultimately, you want your Cacio e Pepe to have an alfredo-like consistency.
Season with lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper (more salt, if you so desire) and toss.
*This step is so important! The starchy pasta water is what pulls everything together and turns our grated cheese into a sauce.
Look out for our next Cooking with Bwog post, and send pictures of your own culinary endeavors to email@example.com!