Back from Electric Picnic. Great weekend, but I have neither the energy, appetite or inclination to cook. So I fall back on this old classic to nurse my bedraggled body into shape. Cacio e Pepe is literally just ’cheese & pepper’. Perfect when you want something in a hurry. Simple, delicious and comforting. Just what is needed.
It’s all about the sauce, so a tiny little bit of technique is required.
Drop your spaghetti into boiling heavily salted water and cook until almost done.
In a large frying pan gently heat a large tablespoon of crushed black peppercorns to release their aromatic oils.
Drain your pasta when it is still slightly underdone and save a large cupful of the cooking water.
Add the reserved cooking water to the frying pan with the toasted peppercorns. Bring the water to a simmer and drop in a large dollop of butter (100g) which will then melt into the water. Throw in the almost cooked pasta and stir. The pasta will then begin to soak up the water and butter and continue to cook through. Stir in a large cupful (125g) of finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese. The cheese will melt, the sauce will thicken and coat the spaghetti strands.
Serve with a final grating of some more cheese.