Eat Pray Love: Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce
As Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert says, "Italians take every ingredient they know and make a feast of it." According to her, "there are few ways to create happiness more efficiently than by cooking for yourself and others." In honor of the movie staring Julia Roberts, we chose perhaps one of the most famous simple Roman pasta sauces, made with black pepper and aged Pecorino Romano. It is sure to restore your appetite for life! Buon appetito.
Enlarge Image Credit: Penny De Los SantosKosher salt, to taste
1 lb. pasta, preferably tonnarelli or spaghetti
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
3⁄4 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma
1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes; reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly. Sprinkle 3⁄4 cup each Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary. Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino and more pepper.
Pairing Note A medium-bodied sangiovese, like the 2005 Brancaia Tre Toscana ($21), will complement this dish's peppery notes. — David Rosengarten