Next up in my series, Great Roman Pasta recipes, Spaghetti all'Cacio e Pepe. A more simple Roman pasta dish would be hard to find. I made this for the first time and I was just blow a way, it's so so good. Anthony Bourdain in an episode of "No Reservations," is quoted saying "cacio e pepe could be the greatest thing in the history of the world."
The key to this dish is properly incorporating the reserved hot pasta water, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses creating a sauce that coats all the noodles and with just the right amount of fresh black pepper.
2 tablespoons salt for pasta water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fine grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fine grated Romano cheese
Fresh ground sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Take a large stock pot and fill with water. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to directions, which is usually 9 - 10 minutes to al dente, firm to the bite. When done, drain the spaghetti reserving 2 cups pasta water.
Heat a 12" saute pan to medium and add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot add the spaghetti and use a pair long tongs with rubber or plastic ends to mix the pasta. Here's the part you want to get right! Add 1 cup reserved pasta water and mix using your tongs. Sprinkle on 1/4 of the cheese on to the pasta and mix. Repeat the process 3 more times until all the cheese is mixed into the noddles. At this point, add a couple tablespoons of water and mix. Next, add some salt and a generous amount of fresh black pepper. Toss for 30 seconds until piping hot and you're done.
To serve, place a portion of pasta on a serving plate and grind on some additional pepper and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.